The city of Minneapolis has agreed to pay $600,000 as settlement to 12 protesters who sustained injuries during the protests that ensued following the 2020 killing of George Floyd, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota announced Wednesday, per CBS News.
The settlement comes after the ACLU-MN filed a 2020 class action lawsuit on behalf of the 12 defendants. And besides the monetary settlement, the city also agreed to implement “numerous reforms.”
“People who are demonstrating peacefully should never be met with police violence as they were in Minneapolis during protests over MPD’s murder of George Floyd,” ACLU-MN Legal Director Teresa Nelson said. “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. We hope this settlement sends a message to law enforcement across Minnesota that this violation of our constitutional rights will not be tolerated.”
The ACLU said the protesters sustained injuries including bruising as a result of less-lethal munitions, lingering respiratory issues suffered from tear gas as well as psychological trauma “that has chilled their desire to protest in the future.”
The 12 plaintiffs will share the money among themselves. “The agreement prohibits the city from arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force including but not limited to chemical agents, flash bang/concussion grenades, and foam-tipped bullets against people engaging in lawful protests, assemblies, or demonstrations,” the ACLU said in reference to the reforms.
“The injunction also limits the use of chemical agents by police to disperse peaceful protests and requires that officers deployed to protests have their body-worn cameras recording and unobstructed.”
Floyd, 46, lost his life after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes despite the Black man repeatedly telling him that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death sparked protests both within and outside the United States in what was a year of racial reckoning.
Chauvin received a 22 and half-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of murder and manslaughter.