The Denver City Council has given its unanimous approval for a hefty $4.7 million settlement.
This payout is intended for over 300 Black Lives Matter protesters who were apprehended by the Denver Police Department during the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020.
The lawsuit against the city alleged that the enforcement of the curfew was selectively targeted at Black Lives Matter protesters, thereby infringing upon their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Elizabeth Wang, the lead attorney for the protesters, underscored the significance of the settlement in preserving the First Amendment. She argued that the U.S. Constitution does not permit police to clear the streets of protesters simply because they disagree with their message.
The city of Denver has approved a $4.72 million settlement to go to 300 BLM protesters who had been arrested during the 2020 protests after they sued the city for its "violent suppression of free speech."
The BLM "protests" cost the city $5.5+ million in damages and overtime. pic.twitter.com/HyuBoXz8Yt
— Leftism (@LeftismForU) September 5, 2023
However, the Denver Police Department refuted these allegations, denying any violation of constitutional rights.
Despite this, the City and County of Denver agreed to the settlement in a federal class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the arrested individuals.
The total amount expected for class members ranges from approximately $3.0 to 3.5 million, with the remaining funds allocated to attorneys’ fees, costs, and settlement administration expenses.
This settlement follows a series of similar payouts across the country. Charlie Kirk, Founder & CEO of TPUSA, highlighted this growing trend.
He pointed out cities like Philadelphia and New York are paying out more than $9 million and $13 million respectively. Overall, he estimates more than $80 million will be paid out across over 20 U.S. cities.
After New York City agreed to pay at least $35 million to 2020 #BLM–#Antifa riot suspects, the NYPD will agree to new reforms in a settlement where they will send fewer officers to protests and direct actions. https://t.co/Jr1rLM9bpY
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) September 6, 2023
Kirk expressed concern over the potential implications of these settlements.
He argued rewarding and subsidizing criminality could lead to an increase in such behavior. He also questioned the future of Democrat cities, suggesting that they could become crime-infested and drug-riddled as a result of these actions.
In addition to the $4.7 million settlement, Denver has also made other significant payouts related to the George Floyd protests.
This includes a $14 million payout to 12 injured protesters from last year, which is currently under federal court appeal, and a separate $1.6 million settlement to seven injured protesters earlier this year.
These settlements are a troubling trend that could potentially encourage unlawful behavior. As more cities across the U.S. agree to similar payouts, the debate continues on the long-term implications of these decisions.