DENVER (KDVR) — The city’s request for a new trial after a federal jury awarded an excess of $14 million to several protesters injured during the George Floyd protests has been denied.
The decision Monday was made after a jury found Denver violated the First and Fourth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs who filed suit, claiming police hurt them during the demonstrations in a weekslong trial in late March.
The lawsuit, filed by 16 protesters, questioned the police response during the protests and riots in May 2020.
“However, Denver’s stubborn instance that the police did nothing wrong in the face of overwhelming video evidence to the contrary, coupled with evidence that each plaintiff was peaceful but sustained injuries as a result of the misconduct, was sufficient to support the jurors’ verdict. The Court will not exercise its discretion to remit the awards against Denver,” Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the United States District Court of Colorado said in a judicial order.
The jury returned a verdict in favor of each of the plaintiffs on nearly every one of their claims. Each was awarded various amounts of damages.
The order on Monday addressed the specific claim for Elisabeth Epps against Denver Police Officer Jonathan Christian, which awarded Epps $250,000 in punitive damages in addition to $1 million in compensatory damages. Jackson ruled in favor of the officer and reduced the $250,000 in damages to $50,000.
“I believe that would be a fair and not excessive punishment for the wrong he committed against Ms. Epps. If Ms. Epps is unwilling to accept that amount, then I will grant a new trial as to her claims against Mr. Christian,” Jackson said in the order.
Jackson said the jury is the “conscience of the community” and said the court may have awarded less but stood behind the final amount decided upon by the federal jury.