DENVER (KDVR) — Denver City Council voted Tuesday evening to approve $825,000 in settlements with two protesters struck with police projectiles during the George Floyd protests.
The city will pay $575,000 to settle the case of Megan Matthews, a young woman who was struck in the eye with what she believes was a 40mm sponge grenade, fired by a police officer.
Matthews said the impact broke her nose and required her to have two nose surgeries. She said the strike also severed her tear duct and fractured her eye socket. She said she had an unsuccessful tear duct surgery, and now her left eye constantly feels watery.
“I did see a specialist a few months ago that did formally diagnose me with PTSD,” she said, “and he did correlate it to my injury in that event. I also get really nervous with loud sounds and crowded rooms now.”
Matthews said she would likely not be able to participate, physically, in a future protest because of her fears, “at least not any time soon,” she said. “Maybe I will focus my attention on trying to help in other ways.”
One of Matthews’ attorneys, Brian Caplan, said because so many officers were not consistently wearing body cameras or consistently recording during the protests, they were unable to determine who pulled the trigger in the incident.
“The person who fired that shot is either entirely incompetent or is deliberately aiming for her face, and that’s disturbing,” Caplan said.
He said he hopes reform continues at the police department as a result of all these incidents coming to light, despite the fact that he is unaware of any individual officer being disciplined for the incident.
“I hope…that by holding them accountable, the powers that be within the police department are…implementing the appropriate recommendations and doing what they can to assure this doesn’t happen again, that people are getting trained, that people don’t go out with a 40mm cannon without proper training,” he said.
Denver’s council also voted to settle a case involving Youssef Amghar for $250,000. Body camera footage shows Amghar’s hands were up when police fired multiple pepperballs, striking Amghar in the face and chest.