Busker Arrest Costs City $20K

The city of Providence, R.I. coughed up thousands in legal fees after settling a lawsuit from a street performer who claimed police harassment during his playing was a violation of his free speech.

A federal magistrate ruled July 12 that the lawyers for Manuel Pombo, the musician in question, were entitled to $13,410 and $8,200. According to the Providence Journal, the lawyers were from the American Civil Liberties Union. In the suit, Pombo said police arrested him and forced him to stop playing in public spaces.

Pombo reached a settlement with the city in January that allowed him to play and solicit donations in public spaces, and he was awarded $1,500 in damages.