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Protester hit in elbow by flash grenade thrown by police chases Denver

Another protester is suing Denver and its police chief for actions taken during the 2020 racial justice protests, this time because officers threw a flash grenade at him.

Robert Dayton joined protesters on May 31 – the fourth day of the George Floyd protests in Denver – and police shot him with pepper balls, according to the federal lawsuit he filed Thursday.

As protests continued, Dayton sat in crowds near Colfax Avenue and Emerson Street, where protesters faced a line of police. Video from a news helicopter shows an officer throwing a flash grenade at the group, and it struck Dayton in the elbow and burned his eyes, the lawsuit says.

Officers gave no warning before initiating the flashbang, according to the lawsuit.

“When Mr. Dayton was hit by the flash grenade, he was not engaging in any destruction of property, committing any crime, threatening any law enforcement officer (or anyone else) or was not attempting to flee arrest,” the lawsuit states. “When Mr. Dayton was hit by the flash grenade, he was peacefully protesting.”

The lawsuit names City of Denver Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen, former Cmdr. Patrick Phelan and four unidentified officers as accused. The lawsuit states that Denver police policy failed to provide sufficient parameters for the use of flashbang grenades and did not properly train its officers to use them, causing Dayton’s injury.


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