Denver demonstrators who protested after George Floyd was killed were awarded $14 million in a lawsuit after jurors found that police violated their constitutional rights. A report in Minneapolis, where ex-officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd, concluded this month that police and local officials badly fumbled their response to the protests. In Austin, 19 police officers were hit with criminal charges of using excessive force during demonstrations there. Nearly two years after Floyd’s death ignited nationwide protests, police continue to face fallout over their response, reports the Washington Post. Numerous reports, have criticized departments for mishandling the unrest. Civil and criminal cases have taken aim at officers’ use of force in those frenzied days.
“The summer of 2020, in terms of the police response to demonstrations, was unlike any other summer we have seen in recent history,” said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. “And the consequences … are all coming out now.” The demonstrations were overwhelmingly peaceful,, though some cities experienced spasms of violence and property damage, including Minneapolis, Portland, Or., and Kenosha, Wi. Police were repeatedly filmed using force on protesters demonstrating against police brutality. Police leaders, city officials and unions have defended the response, saying they were facing an unprecedented event. In Denver, Stanford Smith, a plaintiff in the case against police who attended the protests while a student, said he was hit by tear gas without warning. Recounting the “excruciating pain” from the gas, Smith said he was not violent at any point and sympathizes with any officers hurt during the demonstrations. But police, he said, should still have done a better job managing the crowds. Officers “were being very, very brutal toward the protesters,” said Smith, 33.