DENVER (KDVR) – The City of Denver and multiple Denver police officers are facing another federal lawsuit related to the George Floyd protests.
Baumgartner Law and the Beem and Isley law firm filed the suit Tuesday on behalf of Jax Feldmann, who went blind in one eye after being struck by a PepperBall during the George Floyd protests in 2020.
The suit was filed one day after city council voted to approve a $500K settlement with another eye-injury victim who was targeted by a police officer with a 40mm weapon.
“The defendant officers were engaged in ongoing use of illegal, unconstitutional excessive force, and none of the officers took any steps whatsoever to intervene to stop or mitigate the illegal conduct,” the federal complaint says.
During the summer, FOX31 uncovered surveillance footage of the incident, showing a truck filled with police officers passing Feldmann as he was walking to his vehicle.
Feldmann, who said he was not protesting but did yell, “We are all Americans” as the officers drove by, lost sight in his eye after an officer fired his PepperBall gun in Feldmann’s direction.
Birk Baumgartner, an attorney representing Feldmann, blamed officer Diego Archuleta for firing the shot, but an internal affairs investigation found “no evidence shows who launched the PepperBall.”
“Based on the Defendant Officers’ relative positions on the truck, the type of weapons they were carrying, and body-camera footage from other Defendant Officers, Defendant Archuleta was the only person able to fire a pepper ball at plaintiff,” the federal complaint said.
However, a Denver Police Department internal affairs investigation, completed in the summer of 2021 said, “no officer remembers this incident specifically. In addition, no officer remembers seeing Mr. Feldmann fall to the ground after being struck with a PepperBall,” the internal affairs investigation found.
“Without video of an officer launching the PepperBall hitting Mr. Feldmann, without an admission of doing so … and without any witness saying he did, there is no preponderance of evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation,” the report found.
Baumgartner said he has plans to file other similar lawsuits soon.
$500K payout approved to Denver protester
The Denver City Council approved a $500,000 settlement to be paid out to a protester who was struck in the head with a 40mm projectile fired by a Denver police officer.
Michael Acker, a college student who was wearing a gas mask when he was struck, said a piece of glass was stuck in his eyelid, but a doctor helped pull it out when he was in the hospital. His eyesight ended up being ok.
“Had I not been wearing the mask, it probably would have fractured my skull and would have gone into my eye. I would have been a pirate,” he said.
Protester sues Denver for fractured skull
Michael Driscoll’s attorney, Milo Schwab, filed a civil rights lawsuit and said his client was doing nothing wrong when police targeted him.
Driscoll was recording video and live-streaming on the fourth night of protests.
“The crowd was very peaceful. At that point is when things started to turn. The crowd in general was shot into. I was shot in the head” Driscoll said.
Schwab explained the incident in which his client was injured: “One of those protesters was Michael Driscoll, who was struck in the face with a rubber bullet or tear gas canister. That munition shattered his sinus, it shattered 3-4 bones, it shattered his eye socket, and in order to reconstruct his face, they had to take bone from the top of his skull. There was description of the damage done: In addition to bone shards, bone dust between his eyes and his sinus. This was life-threatening.”