Denver is paying out $110,000 for two liability claims involving police

The two cases date back to 2014 and 2020, and involve a SWAT raid and unlawful search and seizure.
2 min. read
A parked Denver Police cruiser. Sept. 30, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Denver is paying $110,000 to two residents in cases involving the Denver Police Department, on the heels of $1.6 million approved last week for protesters injured by police during the 2020 George Floyd Protests. City Council approved the latest payments on Monday.

One of the cases dates back to 2014 and involves Levi Frasier, who was recording police punching a man while arresting him, according to his lawyer Elizabeth Wang. Wang said police then "harassed" Frasier to unlock his tablet and turn it over for a search. Frasier sued claiming police violated his First Amendment right to free speech in recording the arrest, and Fourth Amendment right protecting against unlawful search and seizure.

Denver Police ended up winning the First Amendment piece claiming qualified immunity. In 2021, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal. But Frasier won the Fourth Amendment claim, and now the city is paying him $71,000.

"I think this is a good case of qualified immunity gone too far," Wang said about the First Amendment ruling. "But the end result here for Mr. Frazier is a positive one."

The other case dates to September of 2020, when Erika Pruiett live streamed a Denver Police SWAT team raiding her apartment, with her 2-year-old daughter and roommates inside. She told the Denver Post at the time that the raid was unnecessary. Police said the raid was to serve a search warrant on one of her roommates, who was not there at the time. She's getting $39,000.

Pruiett's lawyers did not respond to Denverite's request for comment. The Denver Police Department declined to comment.

The cases come as liability claims involving Denver Police behavior are on the rise. Settlements hit a five-year high of around $3 million in 2022. So far in 2023, Denver has paid almost $2.2 million in police related settlements, many dating back to the 2020 protests.

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