Denver, CO

Denver set to pay $80k to settle two police brutality lawsuits

David Heitz

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Many of the recent police settlement payouts stemp from the George Floyd protests in downtown Denver.Colin Lloyd/Unsplash

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) City Council will approve two payments totaling $80,000 Monday to settle lawsuits against the police department. The settlements are the latest in a string of Denver payouts to settle alleged police misconduct.

The first settlement pays Paul S. Heffron $45,000. The claim stems from an incident involving police on April 18, 2021, and documents provided to the city council don't offer any details.

The second settlement pays Martha Acosta $35,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against Thomas Moen and the City and County of Denver. Information provided to the council doesn't offer any details about Acosta's allegation.

More than $2.2 million paid, plus $14 million verdict

Two weeks ago, Denver settled a lawsuit against the police department for $100,000. Five weeks ago, the City Council settled a case for $75,000. The council approved more than $2.2 million in settlements in the past two months.

On March 25, a federal jury awarded $14 million in damages to 12 victims in a Denver police brutality case.

Most of the incidents stem from protests in the summer of 2020 over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

More settlements likely

More settlements likely are in the works. 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 during a single 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 via email.

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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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