Denver is paying another $1.6 million to George Floyd protesters

It’s the latest in a slew of claims involving the Denver Police Department dating back to the 2020 protests.
2 min. read
The sixth day of protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. June 2, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Titus Peterson brought his sons to a racial justice protest, during which police sprayed the family with tear gas. Gabriel Schlough had stitches and might need surgery after police hit him in the chin with a projectile. Mercii Thomas ended up with stitches and a concussion after police shot her with a projectile. Police threw a stun grenade at Robert Dayton, shot PepperBalls at Darrell Hampton and shot a projectile at Eric Weber.

All these cases are from incident that happened during protests against the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. City Council approved the liability claim payments at Monday's city council meeting.

"They were all just normal people who were called out to protest by the video of George Floyd and the just overwhelming police brutality in this country, and then were met with the very same brutality that they went out to protest," said attorney Andy McNulty, who works for Killmer, Lane & Newman. The firm has been involved in several police misconduct claims.

Denver Police Department (DPD) declined Denverite's request for comment.

The figures range from $12,500 to $575,000, and total more than $1.6 million between the six cases.

If you include two other claims from earlier this year in which police shot George Floyd protesters with PepperBalls, Denver has already paid out more than $2 million to protestors injured by police so far in 2023.

A Denverite investigation in 2022 found that since 2010, the average amount of money paid in police-related settlements per year was around $1 million.

It's far from the first time the city has footed the bill for injuries involving DPD dating back to the summer of 2020. In 2022, a jury awarded $14 million to protesters in a lawsuit over DPD's response during the George Floyd protests.

McNulty said his firm is working on a few other claims related to the protests, and added that he knows other firms in Denver have a few cases pending as well.

"Over $1.6 million represents some accountability, but there needs to be more accountability for the Denver Police Department, and it needs to come from the citizens of Denver," McNulty said. "So this should first change within the department, but it should also spur the citizens' right to demand that the Denver Police Department make changes."

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