A Colorado jury awarded $14 million to protesters who were injured by Denver cops in 2020 demonstrations against police brutality.
Jurors deliberated for four hours on Friday before reaching a verdict that found police used excessive force against protesters and violated their constitutional rights, The Denver Post reported.
Protests swept the country in 2020 following the police murder of George Floyd, a Black man from Minneapolis who was killed when a white cop, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes.
In Denver, racial justice protesters were met with pepper spray and police projectiles, including a Kevlar bag filled with lead shot fired from a shotgun in the case of one plaintiff. The 12 protesters who sued the city were awarded between $750,000 and $4 million apiece.
Attorneys for the victims successfully argued police weren’t properly trained, leading to numerous injuries. Protester Zach Packard was hit in the head by the lead shot shotgun blast and ended up hospitalized, CBS News reported. Other injuries included a skull fracture, pepper spray used at close range on protesters’ eyes, and bruises and cuts from other projectiles.
Attorneys for the city failed to show evidence that the 12 plaintiffs acted violently during the protests.
“There’s such a balm on my soul right now from that verdict,” Elisabeth Epps, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told The Denver Post following the verdict.