Minneapolis settles suit over MPD response to unrest

Update: 3:26 p.m.

The Minneapolis City Council agreed to pay $57,900 earlier this month to settle a lawsuit brought by a woman who says she was injured by police last year during unrest that followed the police killing of George Floyd.

It’s the first of several suits that allege police fired projectiles without warning and caused serious injuries.

Graciela Cisneros
This undated photo provided by Graciela Cisneros shows Cisneros after being injured by a police projectile during protests that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Graciela Cisneros via AP

According to the complaint filed in federal court, on May 30 then 21-year-old Graciela Cisneros was leaving a protest with a friend when they encountered several police officers. 

According to the suit, an officer fired a projectile without warning, which struck her in the face just below her left eye. 

More suits are pending based on encounters with police during the unrest which followed the May 25 killing of Floyd.

A 20-year-old woman alleges that on May 31 during a downtown protest, Minneapolis police pulled her out of her car a gunpoint. In her lawsuit, complaint Erika Khounedaleth said officers threw her to the ground and deployed tear gas.

Later this week, Minneapolis city attorneys are scheduled to appear in federal court to address a lawsuit filed by a 19-year-old man seriously injured by police last year.  

Plaintiff Ethan Marks lost his right eye after allegedly being struck by a tear gas canister fired by an unknown officer on May 28. Marks’ attorney Bob Bennett is also representing another man who claims he was seriously injured by police.

On May 31, Soren Stevenson was protesting near Interstate 35W and University Avenue. According to court documents, Stevenson lost his left eye after being struck by a “40-milimeter, blunt-impact projectile.” 

Over the years, Bennett has won tens of millions of dollars in settlements with the city of Minneapolis over police misconduct litigation. That includes the record $20 million payout over the 2017 police killing of Justine Ruszczyk.

City attorneys will argue for the dismissal of the Marks suit in front of Judge Ann Montgomery on Thursday afternoon. City attorneys have declined to comment on the suit. But in court documents the city argues that Marks’ claims that the city be held liable for his injuries fall short and should be dismissed. 

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