Two new lawsuits filed against Denver for protest injuries

denver police tear gas george floyd protests
Posted at 11:41 PM, Sep 13, 2021

DENVER — Dozens more protesters have filed lawsuits against the City and County of Denver over the police response during the George Floyd protests that began in May 2020.

Beem & Isley, P.C. and Baumgartner Law filed two lawsuits — one on behalf of eight people and another on behalf of 42 people — alleging officers from the Denver Police Department and other agencies assisting during the protests violated protesters’ First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

According to the lawsuits, in all 50 incidents “each of the Plaintiffs was injured in some way after being targeted, shot at, gassed, and/or fired upon” with pepper spray, pepper balls, rubber bullets, batons and more during protests between May 28 and July 19, 2020.

The lawsuits also say when the injuries occurred that none of them were “rioting, committing any act of violence or aggression, threatening the police or others, or violating any law.”

Several of the plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit have had ongoing issues as a result of the injuries that occurred during the protests, including post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, menstrual issues, vision issues and more.

Some of the people who were injured were not protesting, but were nearby during the police response, according to the lawsuits.

The lawsuits also allege that because the city dismissed hundreds of criminal charges from the arrests during protesting, the city “did not arrest the protesters because they had committed criminal violations, but rather as a means of quelling their protected First Amendment activities and punishing them for the same.”

The Denver city Attorney's Office said Tuesday morning it had not reviewed the lawsuits "and it would be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation."

These aren’t the first lawsuits to stem from the 2020 police response. The ACLU of Colorado and a Denver law firm filed a lawsuit in June 2020 on behalf of Black Lives Matter 5280 and others injured for the police department’s use of various “less-lethal” weapons on protesters for alleged constitutional rights violations.

Attorneys for Russell Strong, who lost his eye after being hit with a projectile, filed a lawsuit against the Denver Police Department in February for excessive force.

Within a week of the first protests, a federal judge temporarily banned the Denver Police Department from using tear gas, pepper balls or "projectiles of any kind" against peaceful protesters.

Several months after the demonstrations, the Office of Independent Monitor put out a report detailing shortcomings within the DPD’s staffing, use of force against protesters, body-worn camera usage, and planning and coordination with outside agencies.It also made more than a dozen recommendations about how the department can be better prepared for future large protests.

Department of Safety Executive Director Murphy Robinson at the time called the report “a roadmap to move forward.”