By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– It was a battle for the streets of Denver that started in late May. Protesters marched through the streets, expressing anger over the death of George Floyd, while police used chemical antiperspirants, foam bullets and more to control the crowds.

A third day of protesting in downtown Denver was brought to an early end after Mayor Michael Hancock enacted a curfew to prevent more vandalism and violence. Although many demonstrators had left by 8 p.m., hundreds were still by the State Capitol when law enforcement began dispersing the crowd. The curfew will be in force again May 31. (credit: Evan Semón)

Sara Fitouri was one of the protesters. Now, she is the lead plaintiff in one suit seeking class action status against the city over police use of force.

“I was hit by pepper spray rounds that were shot at me. I experienced tear gas many times and had a flash bang thrown and exploded at my foot,” she told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger

The types of devices used are displayed in a separate lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is representing a group of injured protesters claiming police fired indiscriminately into crowds.

What took place here in Colorado was mirrored across country and now, so too, the legal fight back.

Elizabeth Wang represents a group of plaintiffs in Fitouri’s lawsuit seeking compensation and changes in police response to lawful protests.

“It’s not unique to Denver at all police around the country responded in unlawful ways to the protests in support of black lives and there have been numerous class action lawsuits in numerous cities,” said Wang.

One of those lawsuits heard by Federal Judge Brooke Jackson has resulted in an agreement between police and attorneys for protesters over guidelines if, when, and what kind of crowd dispersal methods can be used.

Fitouri finds irony in what led to her action, “When we came out here to protest police aggression, we were faced with police aggression.”

Now the courts are being asked to decide if the protesters should be paid if found the police overreacted. The Denver Police Department and Denver City Attorney’s office declined to comment on the pending legal actions.

Rick Sallinger

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