Denver, CO

Denver prepares to settle lawsuit against police for $65,000

David Heitz

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Denver City Hall.Photo byCity and County of Denver

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The Denver City Council will vote Monday whether to approve yet another settlement with someone suing the police department.

The payouts have become routine at council meetings. Most of the settlements stem from accusations of police brutality during the George Floyd protests downtown Denver in summer 2020.

The latest check, for $65,000 if approved, will go to Eric Brandt, represented by Killmer, Lane & Newman COLTAF Client Trust Account. The settlement is intended to resolve the matter of Eric Brandt v. The City and County of Denver, Frederick Kitchens, Ashley Cox, Christopher Baird, Jordan Peterson, Adolph Chavez, Jr., Anthony Guzman, and Kenneth D. Chavez. The litigation was filed in U.S. District Court for Colorado case No. 1:20-cv-00308-RMR-MEH.

Details surrounding the case were not immediately available. In an email to NewsBreak, attorney David Lane said he’s not authorized to speak about the settlement before the council approves it. The item is on the council's consent calendar. Items on the consent calendar are considered routine and generally pass in one block vote without discussion.

Department of Transportation and Infrastructure: $43,255 settlement

Also Monday, the council will vote whether to approve a settlement resulting from a complaint against the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. John Wivholm and Jen Menary together will receive $43,255.64 if the settlement is approved. Details surrounding the incident, which occurred July 9, were not immediately available. The party filed a claim with the city over the incident. The item is on the consent calendar.

More than $32 million in police payouts

Settlements involving the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure are less common than those involving the police department. Since 2004, the city has paid about $32.2 million to settle police lawsuits. In January, the council approved $1.275 million in settlements during a single meeting.

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

Unrest gives birth to Task Force

Although it is not a city-sponsored group, the aftermath of the George Floyd 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 in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

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