Minneapolis settles with 12 hurt in George Floyd protests
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The city of Minneapolis has reached a $600,000 settlement with 12 protesters who were injured in demonstrations following the police killing in May 2020 by George Floydthe American Civil Liberties Union announced on Wednesday.
The agreement, which includes numerous reforms, was accepted by a federal judge and made official the same day after the city approved it in October.
The settlement includes an injunction barring the city from arresting, threatening arrest, or using physical force — including chemical sprays, flashbang or concussion grenades, and foam-tipped bullets — for those taking part in lawful protests. It also restricts officers’ use of chemical agents to disperse peaceful protesters. And it requires officers to record their body cameras and be unhindered during protests, according to the ACLU.
The money will be divided among the plaintiffs.
Floyd, a black man, was killed on May 25, 2020 when then-officer Derek ChauvinThe white man knelt on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes during an arrest. Video of the restraint was captured by a viewer and viewed around the world, sparking global protests as part of a broader reckoning of racial injustice.
In Minnesota, the protests lasted for days. While most protesters were peaceful, some damaged buildings and set fires, even burning down a police station.
Two lawsuits filed in 2020 and later consolidated accused Minneapolis police of using unnecessary and excessive force against protesters. They claimed that police used tear gas and foam and rubber bullets to intimidate them and quell the demonstrations, and that officers often fired or gave orders to leave without warning.
The plaintiffs’ injuries included bruising from less-lethal munitions, persistent respiratory problems from tear gas and psychological trauma that chilled their desire to protest in the future, the ACLU said.
“Tear gas, foam bullets and pepper spray became weapons to intimidate and injure protesters, making it dangerous for people to exercise their First Amendment rights,” Teresa Nelson, legal director of ACLU-MN, said in a statement. “We hope this settlement sends a message to law enforcement agencies across Minnesota that this violation of our constitutional rights will not be tolerated.”
City Attorney Kristyn Anderson said the city council approved the settlement Oct. 20 and Mayor Jacob Frey approved it six days later. Anderson said her office had filed the necessary documents and an order reflecting parts of the settlement was released on Wednesday.