Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
Denver City Council has unanimously approved a $4.7 million settlement for over 300 Black Lives Matter protesters who were arrested by the Denver Police Department during the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020.
The settlement was part of the city council’s consent agenda and addresses individuals who took part in protests after the death of George Floyd. It follows a $14 million payout to 12 injured protesters from last year—which is currently under federal court appeal—and a separate $1.6 million settlement to seven injured protesters earlier this year.
In 2022, a federal jury awarded $14 million in compensatory and punitive damages to 12 Black Lives Matter protesters who were injured by police during a riot over the death of George Floyd in 2020.
The jury decided that the protesters’ constitutional rights were violated by the Denver Police over their use of less-lethal weapons to try and break up the riot.
“The violence and destruction that occurred around the community required intervention,” one of Denver’s lawyers, Lindsay Jordan, told the jurors.
The activists sued the City and County of Denver and former police officer Jonathan Christian.
“The jurors found Christian violated Epps’ Fourth Amendment rights and awarded her $250,000 in punitive damages. They denied her First Amendment claims against him,” the Denver Gazette reports. “At trial the two sides disputed whether the pepper ball fired by Christian actually hit Epps. She said after the verdict came down it had felt ‘disorienting’ for the city to challenge her account of what she experienced.”
Attorneys for the protesters claimed their clients never assaulted officers or destroyed property.
The payouts are as follows:
Claire Sannier: $1 million
Stanford Smith: $1 million
Zachary Packard: $3 million
Sara Fitouri: $1 million
Maya Rothlein: $1 million
Amanda Blasingame: $1 million
Joe Deras: $1 million
Elle Taylor: $1 million
Ashlee Wedgeworth, $750,00
Jackie Parkins: $1 million
Elisabeth Epps: 1 million in compensatory damages, $250,000 in punitive damages
Last week, the $4.7 million settlement was approved by the Denver City Council. The lawsuit filed against the city alleged that the enforcement of the curfew was selectively targeted at Black Lives Matter protesters, thereby violating their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Elizabeth Wang, the lead attorney for the protesters, emphasized the importance of the settlement in upholding the First Amendment.
She stated, “Over 300 people were arrested for the simple act of protesting. The U.S. Constitution does not allow police to clear the streets of protesters simply because they do not agree with their message.”
According to Denver Gazette, “Federal district court Judge R. Brooke Jackson wrote in a 2021 order that attorneys estimated nearly 300 people fell into a category of protesters arrested only for violating the emergency curfew or failing to obey a lawful order, and whose cases were later dropped.”
In a statement to CBS News Colorado, a spokesman for the Denver Police Department denies that the department violated anyone’s constitutional rights.
“The City and County of Denver has reached a settlement in a federal class action lawsuit filed on behalf of over 300 individuals who were arrested for violating the curfew order during protests in May 2020,” the City Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The class plaintiffs alleged enforcement of the curfew order violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Denver denies its curfew order was unconstitutionally enforced. Under the proposed settlement, the total amount for class members is expected to be between approximately $3.0 to 3.5 million with the remaining approximately $1.22 to 1.72 million allocated to attorneys’ fees, costs, and settlement administration expenses. The settlement must be approved by the District Court.”
Founder & CEO of TPUSA, Charlie Kirk, weighed in on this new development.
“The city of Denver just agreed to pay out $4.7 million to 300 BLM rioters arrested in 2020. Philadelphia is paying out more than $9 million. New York is doling out $13 million. Overall, more than $80 million is going to be paid out across 20+ U.S. cities,” he wrote.
“BLM burned our police stations and looted our stores. Now, they’re looting the public coffers. When you reward and subsidize criminality, you’ll get even more of it. Who could have predicted that Democrat cities would become crime-infested, drug-riddled hellscapes? And what do you think will happen the next time the Democrat base gets the signal to riot?” he added.
Last July, The Gateway Pundit reported that New York City officials agreed to pay $13 million to violent “2020 Summer of Love” protesters and rioters.
Over 1,300 protesters are eligible to be paid nearly $9,950 for police action during their violence, looting, arson, and property destruction at the riots following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota that year.
This does not include the payments to roughly 300 protesters who were awarded nearly $12 million in individual lawsuits against the city.
In March, Philadelphia settled with over two hundred people injured in May 2020 during protests following the death of George Floyd for a total of $9.25 million.
Meanwhile – Trump supporters are serving time in prison today for walking into the US Capitol on January 6.
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