HOLD FOR DPD COMMENT: Pupil injured throughout George Floyd protest sues Denver Police – 9News.com KUSA
The student is one of several people who claim they were injured by less-lethal force deployed by Denver officers during protests.
DENVER — A college student who was shot in the eye during protests following the death of George Floyd has filed a lawsuit against the Denver Police Department (DPD)
Michael Acker was shot in the eye with a 44mm baton round fired by DPD officers, according to the law firm representing him.
When he was shot, there was no curfew in place and no imminent threat of violence, the attorney’s said.
Andy McNulty of Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP filed the lawsuit Thursday, which names the City and County of Denver, DPD Chief Paul Pazen and five unnamed DPD officers as defendants.
DPD would not comment, saying, “Due to the pending lawsuit and open Internal Affairs investigation, it would be inappropriate for the department to comment at this time.”
> The video above is raw footage of the George Floyd protests in Denver in May.
On May 28, Acker was “peacefully protesting” on a sidewalk near Platte Street and Commons Park in downtown, when, according to the lawsuit, DPD officers “fired pepper spray and projectiles without warning.”
While Acker was assisting other protestors who were impacted by that, the lawsuit alleges that he was hit with a 40mm round in the eye. He claims in the suit that his free speech rights were violated and argued that excessive force was used.
“Denver’s actions, while unconstitutional in any context, are even more pernicious here because the police violence and brutality was specifically targeted at peaceful demonstrators protesting police violence and brutality,” said McNulty.
The protests in Denver were part of larger protests all across the country that took placed following the death of Floyd, and an unarmed Black man on May 25 while in police custody in Minnesota. Video shared widely, showed an officer kneeling on his neck for several knees, while he cried for help.
In the days following, hundreds of people took to the streets of Denver to protest. At times, there was violence, which prompted the city to enact a curfew.
Several other protesters have also sued DPD over the use of less-lethal force such as rubber bullets and pepper spray. One lawsuit was filed on June 4, and it resulted in a judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent DPD from using that type of force.
RELATED: Denver residents suing the city over alleged misuse of less-lethal force during protests speak out
A second lawsuit was filed on June 25.
RELATED: 2nd lawsuit filed against City and County of Denver for use of force against protesters
On the same day the suit was filed, it was announced that the two sides came to an agreement about when less-lethal force could be used.
RELATED: Agreement reached over lawsuit to limit less-lethal force during protests
As part of the agreement, only sergeants or above could approve the use of force, and announcements would have to be made before the less-lethal weapons were deployed. Officers would be required to turn on their body-worn cameras any time they were interacting with protesters.
Additionally, outside law-enforcement agencies who are assisting DPD would be allowed to use only less-lethal munitions that Denver authorized its police to use. That would mean some options available to those departments in their own jurisdictions could not be used in Denver.
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