University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Epps v. City and County of Denver PN-CO-0004
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01878 ( D. Colo. )
Additional Docket(s) 1:20-cv-03155  [ 20-3155 ]  District of CO (U.S.)
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Policing
Special Collection Police Violence Protests (Spring/Summer 2020)
Attorney Organization Loevy & Loevy
Case Summary
This lawsuit was filed on June 25, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The suit was made in response to police tactics used on protesters amidst the protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd in May and June of 2020. Represented by private counsel and ACLU ... read more >
This lawsuit was filed on June 25, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The suit was made in response to police tactics used on protesters amidst the protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd in May and June of 2020. Represented by private counsel and ACLU attorneys, plaintiffs in this case were Black Lives Matter 5280, a Denver-based chapter of Black Lives Matter, and nine individual plaintiffs. They brought this suit against the city and county of Denver, officers of the Denver Police Department (DPD), and officers of the Colorado State Patrol (CSP).

The plaintiffs alleged that the city and state police used a number of less-lethal weapons on them as they were peacefully protesting, including but not limited to tear gas, smoke canisters, rubber bullets, foam bullets, pepper balls, flash bang and rubber-pellet grenades, and pepper spray. According to the plaintiffs, these actions constituted various constitutional violations. They alleged that the defendants violated the plaintiffs' rights to free speech, free assembly, and freedom to petition under the First Amendment. The plaintiffs also alleged that defendants' actions violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments' prohibitions on unreasonable seizures and excessive use of force. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief stating that defendants' actions were illegal, injunctive relief to prohibit defendants from engaging in the same behavior, and compensatory and punitive money damages. They also sought costs and attorney's fees.

The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty. However, on July 31 the case was reassigned to Judge R. Brooke Jackson.

Several days later, the Court ordered that this case and a related case, Cruz v. County of Denver, be consolidated. The actions were consolidated under the Black Lives Matter 5280 docket.

On October 28, 2020, the Court consolidated another recently filed case-Acker v. City and County of Denver- with this case. In Acker, filed on October 22, 2020, another individual who participated in protests in Denver following the death of George Floyd sued the City and County of Denver, the Denver Chief of Police, and five Denver police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleged that while assisting other protesters who had just been pepper-sprayed and hit with projectiles, he was hit with a 40mm round in the eye. Similar to the complaint in Black Lives Matter 5280, the individual alleged that the defendants violated his rights to free speech and free assembly under the First Amendment, unlawfully retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights, and used excessive force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment.

On June 28, 2021, the court granted in part plaintiffs' motion for class certification. 338 F.R.D. 506. Although the court denied certification for the "direct force" class (which hoped to consist of people subjected to excessive force), the court did certify the Arrest Class. The Arrest Class consisted of "[p]rotesters who, between May 30 and June 5, 2020, were arrested for violation of D.R.M.C. 1-13 (emergency curfew) or D.R.M.C. 38-31(c) (failure to obey lawful order) and were not charged with any other violations, and whose charges were dismissed."

On the same day the court granted class certification in part, it severed plaintiff Acker from the action. The court also granted plaintiffs Black Lives Matter 5280's and Apryl Alexander's motion to withdraw from the action. The case caption was updated to Epps v. City and County of Denver. The new mix of plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint September 15, 2021, removing allegations regarding Acker and Black Lives Matter 5280.

This case is ongoing as of October 18, 2021.

Jack Hibbard - 09/29/2020
Emily Kempa - 01/02/2021
Jordan Katz - 10/18/2021


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Pepper/OC spray
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Aurora
City of Denver
Colorado State Patrol
Denver Police Department
Plaintiff Description Protesters who, between May 30 and June 5, 2020, were arrested for violation of D.R.M.C. 1-13 (emergency curfew) or D.R.M.C. 38-31(c) (failure to obey lawful order) and were not charged with any other violations, and whose charges were dismissed.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Loevy & Loevy
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 06/25/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PN-CO-0005 : Cruz v. Denver (D. Colo.)
PN-CO-0003 : Abay v. Denver (D. Colo.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Colo.
10/15/2021
1:20-cv-1878
PN-CO-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Colo.
06/25/2020
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-CO-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
06/28/2021
Order on Fitouri Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 127] (338 F.R.D. 506)
PN-CO-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
D. Colo.
09/15/2021
Second Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand [ECF# 153]
PN-CO-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Jackson, Richard Brooke (D. Colo.) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0003 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allison, Reid (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Anderson, Robert Reeves (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Aro, Edwin P. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Bailey, Leslie C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Custer, Kathleen K. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001
DiBrell, Mollie (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Douglas, Matthew (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Gorin, Mindy Amanda (New York) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Havriliak, Anya Amalia (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Herzberg, Arielle Kay (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Macdonald, Timothy R. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
McNulty, Andrew (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Mijares-Shafai, Gerardo (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Moffett, Andreas E. (Virginia) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Neel, Sara R. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
O'Brien, Colin Michael (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Reidy, Patrick Conor (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Sebba, Michael J. (New York) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Silverstein, Mark (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0001 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Thompson, Tara Elizabeth (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Twetten, Daniel Moore (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Wang, Elizabeth C. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-0004 | PN-CO-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Birkholz, Hollie Renee (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Cooperstein, David Charles (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Hoffman, Katherine (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Huss, Robert Charles (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000
Jordan, Lindsay Michelle (Colorado) show/hide docs
PN-CO-0004-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -