The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $9.25 million to protestors involved in a class-action lawsuit claiming that the police used excessive and militaristic force during the 2020 riots following the death of George Floyd. According to the Blaze, almost 350 people in the lawsuit claimed to have suffered physical and mental harm due to the police’s use of tear gas on May 31 and June 1 during protests in West Philadelphia and Interstate 676.
As part of the settlement, Philadelphia has decided to withdraw from a federal program that arms state and local law enforcement with military weapons and equipment. The city will also provide a $500,000 grant for free mental health counseling for West Philadelphia residents affected by the protests.
Mayor Jim Kenney expressed his satisfaction with the settlement, stating, “The pain and trauma caused by a legacy of systemic racism and police brutality against Black and Brown Philadelphians is immeasurable.”
The plaintiffs were represented by Rachel Kleinman of the Legal Defense Fund. She claimed that the Philadelphia Police Department had inflicted wanton violence and devastated a predominantly black community, causing harm and terrorizing individuals exercising their right to protest.