Denver Approves $4.7 Million Settlement with Black Lives Matter Protesters Over Excessive Force Allegations

Denver Approves $4.7 Million Settlement with Black Lives Matter Protesters Over Excessive Force Allegations

City officials in Denver have given their approval for a $4.7 million settlement with Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters who alleged that the police had used excessive force during demonstrations in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd.

The protests had led to the detention of participants for violating an emergency curfew implemented during the demonstrations.

Settlement Resolves Class-Action Lawsuit

The settlement, which has received the green light from the Denver City Council, brings an end to a class-action lawsuit filed against both the city and county.

Among the plaintiffs were diverse individuals, including a lawyer, a former U.S. Marine, a journalist, a business owner, and union organizers.

Protests Erupted Nationwide Over George Floyd’s Death

The protests in question were part of the nationwide unrest that erupted in response to the killing of George Floyd by white police officers in May 2020.

In their complaint, the protesters contended that the police had employed “violent crowd control tactics” against hundreds of demonstrators who had gathered in late May and early June 2020 to protest against police brutality and racism.

Allegations included the use of tear gas, flashbang grenades, pepper balls, rubber bullets, and other projectiles directly targeting protesters.

Protecting Free Speech in Denver

One of the key outcomes of the settlement is that it bars the city from enforcing any future curfews against individuals engaged in protest activities.

The protesters’ lead attorney, Elizabeth Wang, expressed that this victory would safeguard free speech rights in Denver for years to come.

This settlement mirrors similar legal actions nationwide in response to the Black Lives Matter protests.

In 2022, the federal government partially settled lawsuits with BLM protesters who had been cleared from Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.

Balancing Protests and Public Safety

This settlement underscores the ongoing debate over the balance between maintaining public safety during protests and protecting individuals’ constitutional rights to free speech and assembly.

In the aftermath of the George Floyd protests, numerous legal actions have emerged, raising important questions about the appropriate use of force by law enforcement agencies during demonstrations.

Such settlements serve as reminders of the complexities involved in addressing these issues and the need for ongoing dialogue on policing and protest management.