The city of Seattle has decided to pay $10 million to settle a lawsuit from demonstrators who claimed to have suffered excessive force from the city’s police during the 2020 protests related to the death of George Floyd. The settlement was reached after years of legal battles and negotiations. The protest group claimed that the Seattle Police Department used excessive force during the demonstrations, and the settlement amounts to a $200,000 payment to each protester involved in the suit.
A statement from the City Attorney mentioned that the decision for the $10 million settlement was the best financial decision for the City considering the risk, cost, and insurance. The settlement was an attempt to settle the matter and move forward, as the case was a significant drain on the time and resources of the City and would have continued to be so through an expected three-month trial.
Some feel that giving in to such sizable payouts will encourage future rioting and that money should have been used to pay for the emotional damage caused to local businesses. The riots in Seattle caused millions of dollars in damages to businesses, public buildings, and infrastructure, and over 100 officers were injured, with many businesses looted, vandalized, and set on fire. The total cost of property damage and other expenses related to the riots was estimated to be around $200 million according to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
There were also reports of deaths that occurred during the protests, involving a 19-year-old man who was shot and killed in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone and a 32-year-old woman who was hit by a car while protesting on a closed section of Interstate 5. Overall, it seems that the settlement will only serve to encourage future rioting and may not adequately compensate for the damage and harm caused.