DENVER (KDVR) — Denver is on the hook for $14 million after a jury sided with protesters hurt by police during the 2020 George Floyd demonstrations, and that’s not counting other settlements the city’s reached with people who were injured.
A federal jury on Friday found the City and County of Denver violated the First and Fourth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs during its response to the protests and riots.
In a statement released after the verdict, Denver acknowledged that “some mistakes were made” and highlighted some changes made since the historic events.
Here is Denver’s statement in full:
“The Denver protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder were unprecedented – the city had never seen that level of sustained violence and destruction before. We were prepared for a worst-case scenario, but we weren’t fully prepared for what transpired. Unfortunately, Denver Police Department officers and other law enforcement officers responding to assist encountered extreme destructive behavior from some agitators among largely peaceful protestors. We recognize that some mistakes were made.
“Well before the trial and beginning in 2021, the Department of Safety and the DPD reflected on how we fell short, where we could improve, and how we can better support our community moving forward. Based upon what we have learned, we have made specific changes to how the Police Department will respond if protests erupt in violence in the future, and those changes were being implemented prior to any litigation. Those changes include:
- We eliminated the use of 40 mm less lethal equipment for purposes of crowd control.
- We have changed the way officers are permitted to use pepper balls for purposes of crowd management.
- Less lethal equipment training enhanced to help ensure appropriate use in crowd control settings and understanding
- of commands.
- All officers have received additional training on crowd control response and rapid deployment vehicle tactics.
“We continue to evaluate our policies and training to ensure we are using best practices identified by law enforcement throughout the country to better protect peaceful protestors while addressing those who are only there to engage in violence. We recognize that there is more work to be done, and the Denver Police Department will continue collaboration with the communities we serve on that work.”