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POLICE SHOOTING AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER WILL COST DENVER $2.3 MILLION

The Denver City Council is expected to approve a $2.3 million settlement with a Denver man who was blinded in his left eye after being shot in the face with a pepper ball by a police officer during the George Floyd protests in 2020. The incident occurred on May 30, 2020, when Jax Feldmann, then 21, was walking back to his car and not actively participating in the protests. The settlement, stemming from a lawsuit filed in January 2022, addresses the injury caused by the projectile, which doctors determined had irreparably damaged his eye.

 

This settlement is part of a series of legal actions against the city and the Denver Police Department related to injuries sustained during the 2020 protests. Law enforcement's use of less-lethal munitions has led to over $10 million in settlements, including a $550,000 settlement to Russell Strong, who lost an eye, and a $500,000 settlement to Michael Acker, who suffered cuts and vision impairment. The police shootings highlight the significant physical harm caused by police actions during the protests. 


In Feldmann's case, attorney Birk Baumgartner identified Officer Diego Archuleta as the shooter, although a department investigation was inconclusive. Archuleta, who faced discipline for other actions during the protests and resigned in January 2022, also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempted strangulation. Baumgartner has also filed a lawsuit for two other men who suffered facial injuries and vision impairment in similar circumstances. That case is still pending, with a settlement conference scheduled for May 3.

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