August 30, 2023
Denver Approves $4.7M Settlement to Black Lives Matter Protestors Arrested in 2020
Denver City Council is righting a wrong from the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests with a hefty settlement.
On Monday, the council unanimously approved a $4.7 million settlement to 300 protestors arrested in the Mile High City for protesting the Minneapolis police’s killing of George Floyd. CBS News reported that the approval is part of the city council’s consent agenda.
“The City and County of Denver have reached a settlement in a federal class action lawsuit filed on behalf of over 300 individuals who were arrested for violating the curfew order during protests in May 2020,” the City’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The class plaintiffs alleged enforcement of the curfew order violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.”
“Over 300 people were arrested for the simple act of protesting. The U.S. Constitution does not allow police to clear the streets of protesters simply because they do not agree with their message,” said Elizabeth Wang, an attorney at Loevy & Loevy, a civil rights law firm, who represents the plaintiffs.
According to The Denver Post, the $4.7 million settlement will be distributed to protesters who claim their First Amendment rights were violated by the Denver Police Department after being arrested for violating the city’s emergency curfew.
“In addition to compensation to protesters, the settlement prevents the City from enacting any curfew enforced against those engaged in protest activity in the future. This is a win that will protect free speech in Denver for the years to come,” Wang added.
The City’s Attorney’s Office stated that the proposed settlement includes approximately $3.0 to $3.5 million for class members and roughly $1.22 to $1.72 million allocated for attorneys’ fees, costs, and settlement administration expenses.
CBS News reports Denver has denied that any part of the city’s curfew order was “unconstitutionally enforced.” The settlement is awaiting approval from the district court.
The settlement will mark the city’s largest payout tied to police activity during George Floyd protests.