Peaceful protesters against murder of Black American, George Floyd

By Biodun Busari

Twelve protesters who were arrested by the law enforcement agencies during a peaceful rally against the murder of George Floyd in 2020 will receive $540,000.

According to their attorneys, the amount of money was a settlement from Cleveland, a city in Ohio, the United States of America, the Associated Press reports.

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The reports, on Wednesday, said some of the 12 demonstrators sustained minor injuries, including being hit with pepper spray during protests on May 30, 2020, which were organised after Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

A former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April 2021 of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death after pressing his knee on the Black American’s neck for more than nine minutes.

Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and half years in prison.

A civil rights lawyer, Sarah Gelsomino and her colleague, Terry Gilbert who filed lawsuits against the city of Cleveland disclosed that those arrested had protested peacefully and caused no destruction or violence, but still ended up in jail.

After winning the case and speaking on the settlement, Gelsomino said they will share the money equally. She also said the city has agreed to remove the charges from the records of the protestors.

Gelsomino said the city of Cleveland has consistently ignored First Amendment expression despite training and policies intended to educate officers.

Police “were unprepared, they were untrained, they were unsupervised, and they didn’t like the message on May 30, and they acted out,” she said.

Gilbert told Cleveland.com that as a part of the settlement, in addition to assisting those charged, removed their criminal records, the city will also provide more training to officers to handle crowd control at future events.

A similar racial injustice protest in Columbus resulted in 32 people receiving $5.75 million in settlements.

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