Apr 7, 2022 - News

Denver to appeal $14 million verdict from George Floyd protests

 Police officers stand behind a wall of tear gas during protest in Denver in May 2020. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
Police officers stand behind a wall of tear gas during protest in Denver in May 2020. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The city of Denver will appeal a federal jury's $14 million verdict that police officers violated the civil rights of people who protested the death of George Floyd.

Driving the news: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told Axios Denver on Thursday that he disagreed with the precedent-setting verdict, part of the first jury trial in the nation to challenge a police department's use of force to quell unrest surrounding the 2020 demonstrations.

  • "While we were not perfect in our administration and dealing with the protests, we believe that we certainly have some reasons to go back and look at a different type of decision with regards to that situation," Hancock said.
  • The mayor didn't offer specifics, but said more details were forthcoming.

The other side: Mark Silverstein of ACLU of Colorado, which represented seven of the 12 protesters, said the Hancock administration "should focus on fixing its police force" instead of "wasting time and money challenging the jury’s verdict."

Catch up quick: Two weeks ago, a federal jury awarded 12 protesters a collective $14 million in damages, after the group sued the city for violating their free speech and assembly rights.

Of note: Hancock told Axios that he "still [has] confidence" in Denver police chief Paul Pazen, despite the damaging verdict calling Pazen's credibility into question.

  • As Axios Denver previously reported, a number of prominent activists say Pazen needs to exit the post after the trial called the agency's leadership into question.
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