DENVER – The City of Denver will appeal a federal jury’s verdict that awarded $14 million in damages to a dozen protesters who were injured by police officers in Denver during the 2020 George Floyd protests.
In a statement obtained by Denver7, Jacqlin Davis, a spokeswoman for the City Attorney’s Office, said that while a final judgement on how the city will proceed has not been entered, the “Denver City Attorney’s Office has decided to pursue post-trial relief, including an appeal.”
The verdict was handed down following a three-week trial – the first excessive force and civil rights trial to come out of the demonstrations over the death of the unarmed Black man in Minneapolis, Minn. – in which the jury heard testimony about failures in leadership and coordination by police in responding to the protests in Denver and injuries suffered by protesters at the hands of officers from Denver and other nearby departments.
The 12 plaintiffs were hit with pepper spray, bean bags and more during several days of protests in the downtown area, and claimed in the lawsuit that their First Amendment rights to demonstrate were violated because of officers’ unreasonable force and use of “less lethal” ammunition.
The plaintiffs also alleged Fourth Amendment violations in using excessive force by firing the munitions often without warning and at sensitive parts of their bodies, like their heads.
Denver’s attorneys had argued that missteps and mistakes made by officers did not necessarily mean they had violated the constitutional rights of the demonstrators.
The jury ended up ruling in favor of all 12 plaintiffs, though to varying degrees, with plaintiffs getting between $750,000-$3 million in compensatory damages.
Denver has already settled other lawsuits tied to the protests for more than $1.3 million so far.