The city of Minneapolis has settled with protestors who were injured by police as they were demonstrating after the 2020 police killing of George Floyd. The dozen peaceful protesters will share $600,000. The award was announced by the American Civil Liberties Union.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the agreement was approved in October, and it includes reforms in how police may interact with lawful protesters. The settlement includes an injunction that bars the city from arresting, threatening to arrest or using physical force against people exercising their First Amendment rights to assemble and protest.
Police may not employ chemical sprays, flash bang or concussion grenades, foam tipped bullets or similar devices. Officers are also limited in their use of chemical agents to disperse demonstrators. The settlement mandates that police have their body cameras recording and unobstructed while they are policing protest activities, according to the ACLU.
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Minneapolis police were charged with employing unnecessary and excessive force on protesters in two lawsuits that were filed in 2020 and subsequently combined.
They claimed that police intimidated them and put an end to the protests by using tear gas, foam, and rubber bullets. They further claimed that police frequently opened fire without warning or any command to stop.
According to the ACLU, the plaintiffs suffered psychological trauma that has all but eliminated their motivation to protest in the future. This, in addition to the physical injuries including bruises from less lethal weapons, and some persistent breathing problems from tear gas.
"Tear gas, foam bullets and pepper spray became weapons for intimidating and hurting protesters, making it dangerous for people to exercise their First Amendment rights." ACLU-MN legal director Teresa Nelson said in a statement. "We hope this settlement sends a message to law enforcement across Minnesota that this violation of our constitutional rights will not be tolerated."