In May 2020, the death of George Floyd sparked riots in Seattle that led to the destruction of local businesses, property damage, and injuries. The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, which was also referred to as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, was taken over by BLM activists, and saw multiple shootings and two murders.
First-hand accounts detailed the events, including police using tear gas and blast balls, protesters breaking into stores, and stolen AR-15 rifles. The Seattle Police Department declared a riot and made arrests. Tensions escalated between protesters and police, with some protesters claiming they were met with brutality while exercising their First Amendment rights.
A lawsuit against the Seattle Police Department alleged that protesters suffered injuries and permanent damages. The judge rejected the city’s argument that protesters assumed risks. Despite evidence of violence, the media portrayed the protests as peaceful. The plaintiffs’ attorney criticized the city for not admitting wrongdoing. Arguably, America’s most liberal city, had Seattle previously agreed to pay $3.6 million to settle a lawsuit by business owners and residents affected by the riots.
Last week they caved in this settlement.
City of Seattle Settles Case with Protestors
January 23, 2024: Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison agreed to a settlement that ends a lawsuit – Adberg, et al. v. City of Seattle – brought by more than 50 plaintiffs related to the protests in Seattle that began in mid-2020 after the murder of George Floyd. The case was settled for $10 million.
“This decision was the best financial decision for the City considering risk, cost, and insurance,” said City Attorney Davison. “The case has been a significant drain on the time and resources of the City and would have continued to be so through an estimated three-month trial that was scheduled to begin in May.” The case was initiated in September 2020.
The City admits no wrongdoing in the case, which was significant in scope, with plaintiffs alleging injuries sustained during the protests. The case involved:
- hundreds of interactions between the plaintiffs and law enforcement officers;
- more than a million pages of records;
- more than 10,000 videos;
- hundreds of witness interviews;
- extensive court filings.
“This settlement resolves the majority of the remaining claims arising out of the 2020 demonstration period and is a big step toward allowing the City to focus on the important work of today, while moving forward from events four years ago,” said City Attorney Davison.