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Police Crackdown on 2020 Protests Cost Cities $80M So Far

Three years after the brutal murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in May 2020 sparked the largest nationwide demonstrations since the civil rights era, U.S. cities have agreed to pay a total of more than $80 million in settlements to protesters injured by police, the Guardian reports. Experts believe this total will rise. Justin Hansford, a professor at Howard University School of Law and executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, called the total number of settlements “unprecedented." He added, “I have never seen a wave of settlements for police brutality like this in American history.”


Thousands were traumatized. Some were permanently injured and have sued successfully. Anthony Evans was shot in the jaw in Austin by police using so-called less-than-lethal ammunition during a Black Lives Matter protest in the Texas capital in 2020. “We were never, like, cussing or yelling in their face or anything. It was all just peaceful,” Evans said. Carol Sobel, a civil rights attorney in southern California, said that ongoing litigation in the U.S., which can take years to resolve, is expected to further boost the national payout total. "As I see this now, when all of these cases are concluded, it will probably be a record amount, total, paid out across the country,” said Sobel. New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oakland, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Portland, Ore., are among at least 19 cities to have settled with protesters so far and many more are being sued coast to coast, including San Jose and Washington, D.C.

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