Politics

Denver to pay over $1 million in settlements over George Floyd protest police response

Denver’s legal bills related to how police responded to the racial justice protests in May and June of 2020 continue to rise with the City Council approving a combined $1.06 million in settlements on Monday.

According to a list of payments provided by the City Attorney’s Office, the latest settlements will push the city’s legal bills related to the protests to nearly $9.4 million with a possible $14 million jury award still looming should the city’s ongoing effort to appeal it fail.

The most recent payments are split across five settlement agreements. Four of those agreements stem from the same lawsuit filed on June 4, 2020, in the midst of nightly demonstrations in downtown Denver protesting the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

In that case, plaintiffs Agazi Abay, Gabriel Thorn, Amy Schneider and Michael McDaniel sued the city for a range of actions by police including the use of tear gas, pepper balls and rubber bullets allegedly without warning against peaceful protesters.

Abay will receive a $235,000 settlement, Thorn $320,000, Schneider $350,000 and McDaniel $100,000, according to city documents.

Attorneys with the firm Loevy & Loevy represented Abay, Thorn and Schneider in that case.

“This lawsuit—and the many others that have been resolved in favor of protestors—sends a message that cities face serious consequences if their police inflict violence on peaceful protestors,” Elizabeth Wang, Loevy & Loevy’s lead attorney in the suit, said in a statement.

Lindsay Minter was also approved for a $50,000 settlement after she alleged in a suit filed last year that she had to have a tooth pulled after being struck by a projectile from a rubber ball grenade a Denver officer threw at her during the Floyd protests.

Late last month, the council approved a $4.7 million agreement to settle the class action claims Loevy & Loevy brought on behalf of than 300 people arrested for violating an emergency curfew put in place at the height of the protests in May and June 2020, charges that were all later dismissed. That came on top of upward of $4 million in settlements in other cases.

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The curfew settlement is an offshoot of a consolidated case that resulted in a $14 million jury verdict against the city last year over claims of excessive force. That substantial judgment is still pending further appeals by the city despite a retrial request being denied.

The City Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the settlements Monday beyond providing totals.

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