Denver was hit with another federal lawsuit Wednesday over its aggressive police response to the George Floyd protests last month.
The class-action lawsuit, which seeks damages for those arrested for curfew violations or who were injured during the demonstrations, alleges that police used “constitutionally unlawful crowd control tactics, including kettling (also known as containment or corralling), indiscriminate and unwarned launching of tear gas and flashbangs into crowds and at individuals, and shooting projectiles at protestors,” the complaint reads.
Police “knowingly placed these protesters in physical danger through indiscriminate use of excessive force,” according to the lawsuit.
Officers used less-lethal weapons “indiscriminately and without warning, even at times when the crowd was merely chanting, kneeling or standing with their hands up,” according to the complaint.
The lawsuit also alleges that Mayor Michael Hancock’s emergency curfew — imposed from May 30 to June 4 — was unconstitutional and infringed on protesters’ First Amendment rights.
“As if to prove the point of the protests themselves – the discriminatory policing against people of color – the targets of these police attacks ‘included many young Black and Brown people,’ ” Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, the firm representing the plaintiffs, said in a news release.
The named plaintiffs include a freelance photojournalist, a lawyer, a union organizer, a software engineer, a juvenile justice advocate, a small business owner and a veteran.
Wednesday’s lawsuit marks the latest legal action against Denver for its police response to the protests, which began in late May after Floyd, a Black man, was killed after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for early nine minutes.
The ACLU of Colorado last week filed a federal lawsuit against the department on behalf of Black Lives Matter 5280, among others, claiming the police department’s tactics were used to “corral, intimidate and silence protesters.”
Last week, the city also settled a lawsuit filed by four protesters who sued over the police department’s use of force. Earlier in June, as part of that lawsuit, a federal judge in Denver ordered police to limit firing tear gas and projectiles at peaceful protesters, saying that protecting First Amendment rights was more important than protecting buildings.
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