(LibertySociety.com) – The summer of 2020 was fraught with violent, destructive riots across the nation. The death of George Floyd sparked the uprising, which led to the deaths of 25 Americans. Seattle, Washington, was the site of nightly protests for many months. Rioters forced the Seattle Police Department to abandon one of its precincts near Capitol Hill in early June 2020. They erected a two-block autonomous zone in the city, occupying the area for nearly a month. Local businesses and residences were damaged by the rioters, resulting in millions of dollars in losses. The city paid $3.6 million in a settlement to over a dozen business owners and homeowners in 2023.
Fifty protestors from Black Lives Matter sued the police department for allegedly using excessive force during the riots. Lawyers for the plaintiffs claimed that their clients “suffered permanent hearing loss, broken bones, concussion” and even emotional injuries from their interactions with police. One reportedly had a heart attack after being hit by a blast ball. Another plaintiff was a disabled veteran who said he was “gassed and tackled because he didn’t retreat fast enough.” The trial was set to begin in May, which ultimately was not in the best interest of the city.
After years of resources to defend the actions of the police department, the city announced a settlement with the plaintiffs on January 24. A total of $10 million will be distributed to the 50 protestors, although the city did not admit to any wrongdoing. The city’s attorney said that the settlement wrapped up most of the claims from the 2020 riots, adding that Seattle will now be able to focus on current issues instead of the past. The city of Portland has also settled multiple lawsuits with protestors from the 2020 riots. In total, cities across the United States have paid out more than $80 million to people allegedly injured by police during that period.
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