Protester sues city of Minneapolis, officer over projectile injuries during Floyd protests

Attorney Zorislav Leyderman wrote in his civil complaint against the city and an unidentified officer referred to as J. Doe that the woman was shot after officers moved to disperse her group of peaceful protesters.

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A line of police officers on bicycles in riot gear near the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct during a Wednesday, May 27, 2020, protest against the killing of George Floyd, 46, after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck on May 25.
MPR News file photo
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minnesota woman shot in the head with a police projectile during the 2020 protests over George Floyd's murder is suing the city of Minneapolis and an unnamed police officer, alleging multiple civil rights violations.

According to the lawsuit filed in federal court late Friday, Raven Bartz required four staples to close a laceration to the back of her head after she was shot amid the protests in the early hours of May 30, 2020.

Attorney Zorislav Leyderman wrote in his civil complaint against the city and an unidentified officer referred to as J. Doe that Bartz was shot after officers moved to disperse her group of peaceful protesters. The lawsuit said that officers fired directly and "without any warnings, directives, orders, or provocation" at Bartz and the other protesters and that officers aimed their fire at protesters' heads.

The lawsuit was first filed last month in Hennepin County District Court before being moved to federal court late last week. Bartz is seeking "recovery of reasonable damages in an amount greater than $50,000." The Minneapolis City Attorney's Office declined to comment on Monday.

Bartz's lawsuit alleges one count of First Amendment retaliation and another count of Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure and excessive force against both the unknown officer and the city. It also alleges both parties violated Minnesota's battery law.


In his complaint, Leyderman alleged that the "brutal assault" on Bartz was not an isolated incident.

"Shortly after the murder of George Floyd, the City of Minneapolis Police Department devised and implemented a routine practice and custom of assaulting peaceful demonstrators with rubber bullets, pepper spray and other non-lethal weapons without justification and destroying private property belonging to peaceful demonstrations with justification," he wrote.

The City of Minneapolis has previously agreed to pay $1.5 million in legal fees to Jaleel Stallings after shooting at Stallings with plastic bullets without warning during the 2020 unrest. Stallings returned fire at the unmarked van with a pistol, which he had a permit to legally carry, and police punched and kicked him repeatedly while he was face down in a parking lot during his arrest.

Also last month, photojournalist Linda Tirado, who was blinded in one eye by a police projectile, received $600,000 after filing a federal lawsuit accusing the city and police officials of conspiring to deprive journalists of constitutional rights during unrest.

In April, the city paid $1.8 million to two women who say police shot them in the face with projectiles as they protested. And earlier this year, the city and state settled a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of journalists injured while covering the protests in which the group of journalists would receive $825,000.

©2022 StarTribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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