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Judge denies Denver’s request for new trial in protest lawsuit, won’t significantly reduce jury’s $14M award

Judge rebukes city’s “stubborn” insistence police did nothing wrong during 2020 demonstrations
denver george floyd protests
Posted at 8:08 PM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 22:08:57-04

A federal judge on Monday denied Denver city attorneys’ request for a new trial and a significantly lower penalty in the civil case in which a jury awarded protesters $14 million after police injured them while they peacefully demonstrated during the 2020 racial justice demonstrations following the murder of George Floyd.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson found the city failed to present convincing arguments that the jury’s March decision should be undone.

The evidence supported the jury’s finding that Denver Police Department policy gave officers wide discretion to use less-lethal weapons like pepper ball guns and tear gas in protest situations, he wrote. He also found that Denver was liable for the actions of officers from other departments who were called in to help Denver police.

“The police no doubt faced a very difficult situation, as there were individuals in the crowds who threw rocks, full water bottles and other objects at officers throughout the protests,” Jackson wrote. “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.”

Jackson also denied the city’s request to use a legal process called remittitur to lower the $14 million in damages the jury awarded to the 12 protesters.

Read the full story from our partners at The Denver Post.