Oct 4, 2022 - News

Polk County to pay $25K to man charged in George Floyd protest

Illustration of money falling out of a wallet with a police badge

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A man charged with riot-related crimes linked with a 2020 Des Moines protest will receive a $25,000 settlement under a proposal that goes before the Polk County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

State of play: Jacob Sahr, 25, was one of dozens of people arrested during protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd.

  • He alleges officers from the DSM police and Polk County Sheriff departments were involved in false arrests.

Catch up fast: Vandalism followed some of the 2020 protests, resulting in shattered windows and spray paint on multiple downtown buildings.

Zoom in: Sahr, of Altoona, says in court documents that he was never ordered to disperse before he was tackled and arrested in May 2020.

  • Sahr, who is Black, was charged with a riot violation, an aggravated misdemeanor.
  • His white friend— who his lawsuit says engaged in the same conduct and was next to him and arrested at the same time —was charged with failure to disperse, a simple misdemeanor.

What happened: The charges against Sahr were dropped a few weeks later after prosecutors reviewed video footage and were unable to document his alleged involvement in crime, court records show.

Of note: Tuesday's proposed settlement does not involve an acknowledgement of wrongdoing. It is instead meant to reduce the risk of a jury verdict, according to documents provided by the county's legal team to supervisors.

  • Other lawsuits alleging false arrests linked with the 2020 demonstrations in DSM are ongoing.
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