Without Warning, Denver Police Repeatedly Assaulted People with Weapons That Pose Particular Threats During the Pandemic
DENVER – The City and County of Denver face a federal, class action lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of all protestors over alleged wrongful curfew arrests and unconstitutional assaults that Denver Police made on peaceful protesters and following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The class action suit charges that police used “constitutionally unlawful crowd control tactics, including kettling, indiscriminate and unwarned launching of tear gas and flashbangs into crowds and at individuals, and shooting projectiles at protestors…. [Police] knowingly placed these protestors in physical danger through indiscriminate use of excessive force.”
Besides the physical dangers posed by the police assaults, today’s suit charges that police used a variety of tactics to intimidate people “from exercising their First Amendment rights and suppressed speech,” including using the curfew imposed by the Mayor to silence protestors. The suit also charges that the May 30 to June 4 curfew itself was unconstitutional. The DPD arrested over 300 protestors for curfew violations over the course of several days beginning May 28, 2020.
The suit seeks damages not only for the named Plaintiffs – who are a photojournalist, lawyer, union organizer, software engineer, an advocate for youth in the juvenile justice system, a small business owner, and a veteran – but it seeks damages for the class of individuals who were arrested for curfew violations during the protests or injured.
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.”
The DPD used “less-lethal” weapons “indiscriminately and without warning, even at times when the crowd was merely chanting, kneeling or standing with their hands up.”
The class of plaintiffs is represented by Elizabeth Wang and Daniel Twetten of the civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, with offices in Boulder, Chicago, and Seattle. Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms and has won more multi-million-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country.
A copy of today’s suit, Ambrose Cruz, Sara Fitouri, Jacquelyn Parkins, Youssef Amghar, Andy Sannier, Francesca Lawrence, and Kelsey Taylor, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, v. City and County of Denver, Colorado, DOES 1-10, Case No. 1:20-cv-01922, can be found here.