On Friday, a jury in Denver, Colorado gave their verdict awarding $14 million in damages to 12 plaintiffs who were injured by police after participating in violent race riots in the summer of 2020.
As reported by the New York Post, the jury claimed that police in Denver used excessive force when they attempted to shut down the violence, and in doing so allegedly violated the rioters’ constitutional rights.
The decision was celebrated by the far-left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which declared through a spokesman that “the verdict is a message to the police department, to the highest echelons of the police department, but also a message to police departments all over the country.”
The jury, consisting of two men and six women, came to their decision after four hours of deliberation, following a three-week trial. The protesters who sued the police suffered various non-fatal injuries from such non-lethal weapons as pepper spray and lead fired from a shotgun. The largest reward went to Zach Packard, who was given $3 million after the aforementioned lead shot hit him in the head and put him in the hospital.
Another protester, Stanford Smith, was hit by pepper spray and falsely claimed that his life was in danger from the non-lethal weapon.
“I feared for my life, because I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe,” he said in an interview. “What the police did was wrong, and we wanted the facts to come out in court.”
In the closing arguments of the case, one of the lawyers for the rioters, Timothy Macdonald, explicitly said that he wanted the jury to give a verdict that would be interpreted as a message for police departments all across the country.
“Hopefully, what police departments will take from this,” he said, “is a jury of regular citizens takes these rights very seriously.”
Race riots had broken out across the nation following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died of a fentanyl overdose while in police custody in Minneapolis, in May of 2020. The arresting officers were falsely accused of police brutality and “racism,” and the subsequent riots saw dozens of cities burned, hundreds of businesses destroyed, over $2 billion accumulated in damages, and over two dozen civilians murdered by rioters over the course of the summer.