Denver City Council approves giving $500,000 to college student struck by non-lethal round during George Floyd protests
The settlement comes after to a lawsuit filed against the city and its police officers by Michael Ackers.
Denver City Council on Monday night approved a $500,000 settlement with a Black college student who was struck by a non-lethal round by police during the 2020 protests against police violence and racism.
Michael Ackers sued the city in federal court in October 2020 after he was struck in the eye with a 40mm sponge round by Denver police during a May 2020 protest in the city following the murder of George Floyd. The lawsuit alleged police used excessive force when they shot Ackers, whom the lawsuit says was protesting peacefully when he was shot. Ackers is a student at Colorado Mesa University.
Monday night’s vote was unanimous, and no council member commented on the vote.
Andy McNulty, an attorney representing Ackers, confirmed the settlement on Monday, and called what happened to Ackers “a disgusting act by Denver police officers” in a statement to Denverite.
“The Denver police department has not reckoned with the mass brutality it visited on the people who were protesting,” McNulty said in a statement, adding body camera footage shows cops yelling obscenities at Ackers after he was shot. “This settlement brings some semblance on justice to Mr. Acker after nearly two years of Denver refusing to accept any responsibility for its clearly unconstitutional actions.”
Denver police has an ongoing internal review into the incident, according to department spokesperson Jay Casillas.
“Therefore, it would be inappropriate for us to provide a comment or interview,” Casillas said in a statement to Denverite.
The Office of the Independent Monitor released a report in December 2020 saying police mishandled its responses to protest against racism and police brutality, including the protest attended by Ackers, and at times violated its own policies. At least two Denver police officers have been disciplined over their actions during the 2020 protests, according to the Denver Post.
In addition to the city, the lawsuit named Police Chief Paul Pazen and five Denver police officers.
This story has been updated to include a comment from Denver police.