DENVER (KDVR) — Update 3:47 p.m. The City and County of Denver has been found liable for $14 million in a weeks-long federal jury trial about the 2020 George Floyd protests.
The jury found Denver violated the First and Fourth Amendment rights of the protesters who filed suit, who claimed police hurt them during the demonstrations.
The collective payout in the Denver civil rights settlement is roughly on par with others made by various cities in the last eight years.
Earlier: A federal jury started deliberating Friday in a case that pits people injured during George Floyd protests against the City and County of Denver.
The lawsuit questions the police response during the protests and riots in May 2020.
Plaintiffs, including one man whose skull was fractured after being struck in the head with a police projectile, are asking for damages totaling as much as $17.5 million.
Another plaintiff, a woman who was bruised in the protests, said police targeted her for recording them with her cellphone.
“You have to look at the totality of circumstances,” Denver’s defense attorney, Lindsay Jordan told the jury during her closing arguments Friday.
She said it would be “inappropriate” to review the conduct of officers with the “lens of hindsight.”
Jordan described the burden the plaintiffs must overcome to prove their case. She said it goes beyond proving a plaintiff’s rights were violated.
“To hold Denver liable for the acts of those officers, those officers must have been acting pursuant to an official policy, practice or custom of Denver,” she said.
The plaintiffs are asking Denver to be held accountable for the actions of other police departments, like the Aurora Police Department, that provided mutual aid and fired upon protesters. Jordan warned that “actions taken by outside agencies cannot just automatically be put on Denver because Denver asked for help.”
She also said in some cases it is not possible to positively identify which officers were involved and from which department they came.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Liz Wang, reminded the jury that “the City of Denver directed the actions of the outside agencies that they asked to come in.”
Wang, who briefly cried during her closing rebuttal, asked the jury to “hold the City of Denver responsible for what they did to our clients.”