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Denver to pay $4.7 million to BLM protesters who violated emergency curfew during 2020 riots
Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Denver to pay $4.7 million to BLM protesters who violated emergency curfew during 2020 riots

The city of Denver, Colorado, recently reached a $4.7 million settlement with more than 300 Black Lives Matter protesters arrested for violating the city's emergency curfew order to participate in the summer 2020 riots following the death of George Floyd.

The Denver City Council unanimously approved the settlement on Monday, the Denver Post reported.

The class action lawsuit accused the Denver Police Department of using then-Mayor Michael Hancock's (D) emergency curfew order to target protesters demonstrating against police brutality.

Civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy claimed that the protesters were detained for two or more days. It alleged that the arrests put the plaintiffs in danger of contracting COVID-19 and prevented some from receiving medical care. It also claimed that the arrests caused demonstrators to miss work and pushed some to attempt suicide.

The legal firm obtained text communication by Denver public safety officials that appeared to indicate the police were targeting protesters.

"We are working with the City Attorney to extend the curfew order later into the week," one message stated. "Make sure your troops understand this charge is only to be used in relation to protest activity either downtown or elsewhere in the City."

Another later message obtained by the legal firm appeared to restate the previous orders.

"Please advise all your officers that this curfew ordinance is to be used only for enforcing protest-related behavior regardless of location in the city," it read. "Do not let officers cite for curfew just for being out after 2100. Unless they are actively engaged in protest activity, some other charge of justification must be used."

Attorneys for the protesters claimed that the alleged targeted arrests violated the demonstrators' First and 14th Amendment rights.

The plaintiffs' lead attorney, Elizabeth Wang, said in a statement Monday, "The U.S. Constitution does not allow police to clear the streets of protestors simply because they do not agree with their message."

Claire Sannier, one of the plaintiffs in the case, claimed that the group's message "that Black Lives Matter is as necessary now as it was in 2020."

"The city has agreed to pay for this one instance of violent suppression of free speech, while they continue to brutalize and imprison people every day," Sannier said.

City officials maintain that the Denver police officers did not violate the Constitution by arresting protesters.

The city is currently appealing a separate $14 million lawsuit in federal court involving 12 allegedly injured protesters. Denver also previously agreed to a $1.6 million settlement involving seven protesters who allegedly "stood up against police brutality and were met with the very same brutality they were protesting."

The City Attorney's Office told KCNC-TV, "The City and County of Denver has reached a settlement in a federal class action lawsuit filed on behalf of over 300 individuals who were arrested for violating the curfew order during protests in May 2020."

"The class plaintiffs alleged enforcement of the curfew order violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Denver denies its curfew order was unconstitutionally enforced. Under the proposed settlement, the total amount for class members is expected to be between approximately $3.0 to 3.5 million with the remaining approximately $1.22 to 1.72 million allocated to attorneys' fees, costs, and settlement administration expenses. The settlement must be approved by the District Court," it added.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →