Denver, CO

Denver to settle police lawsuit for $100,000, payouts become routine

David Heitz

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Denver has settled several lawsuits stemming from the George Floyd protests.Colin Lloyd/Unsplash

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Denver's about to spend $100,000 to settle another lawsuit filed against the police department.

The City Council is expected to approve the payout at its Monday meeting. Payments to settle lawsuits against the department have become routine on recent council agendas.

Three weeks ago, the city settled a case for $75,000. The council approved more than $2.1 million in settlements in the past two months.

Settlements stem from George Floyd protests

The latest payoff will resolve a lawsuit filed by Natalie Kantor.

In addition to the City and County of Denver, an online court document also names William Bartz, Brian Long, Thomas Bryson, Claire Smith, and Nicholas Ciardullo as defendants. Case details were unavailable, but most recent police settlements stem from the George Floyd protests in summer 2020. Several people accused the Denver Police Department of police brutality during clashes with demonstrators.

Attorney Andy McNulty wins settlements

Denver Attorney Andy McNulty represents Kantor. He already won several settlements for people injured during the protests. He said Friday he cannot comment on the settlement until after the council approves it.

The council approved a $500,000 settlement on Jan. 24 with Michael Acker, a Black college student injured by non-lethal police rounds. "The Denver police department has not reckoned with the mass brutality it visited on the people who were protesting,” McNulty told Denverite.

At least a dozen lawsuits against police

In a January email, Jacqlin Davis, public information officer for the City Attorney's office, said "There are currently 12 (Black Lives Matter)-protest-related lawsuits pending with the city, with several including numerous plaintiffs."

Since 2004, the city has paid about $32 million to settle police lawsuits. In January, the council approved $1.275 million in settlements at one meeting.

For its part, the Denver Police Department plans to learn from its mistakes. "These circumstances were extraordinary, and extraordinary events can reveal potential gaps or opportunities for improvement in policies, practices, training, and procedures," Denver Police Public Information Officer Doug Schepman said in an email.

Taskforce has 112 ideas for police

Although it is not a city-sponsored group, the aftermath of the protests gave birth to the Task Force for Reimagining Policing and Public Safety. The task force recommended Denver Police make 112 changes to how they do business.

The task force claims it is the largest and most diverse public safety initiative nationally. Members include representatives of civil rights organizations, community activists, direct service providers, faith-based organizations, policy advocacy organizations, and youth-serving organizations.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career at local newspapers. Today, I report on Denver and Aurora city halls for NewsBreak. Prior to joining NewsBreak, I worked several years as a health reporter and branded content writer in the healthcare space. I also worked many years as a news editor and city editor. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver.

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