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Man receives $350,000 settlement after incident with Denver PD during 2020 protest of encampment sweep

DENVER — It’s a day Michael Jacobs, 26, will never forget.

“There’s a lot of feelings that are floating around in my body,” he told Denver7.

On July 29, 2020, Jacobs says he was attacked by multiple Denver Police Department officers during the protest of a homeless encampment sweep. Now, he’s breathing a sigh of relief.

“I feel like I’m feeling peace in my bones for the first time in a long time,” said Jacobs.

Denver City Council on Monday unanimously approved a motion to pay Jacobs $350,000 to settle a lawsuit brought last year against 15 officers and former Police Chief Paul Pazen.

Jacobs was rattling a chain-link fence at Lincoln Park when he says officers tackled him. Body cam footage shows an officer running toward Jacobs and then several officers holding him down.

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“I was hit in the back of the head. I was trying to recover, get my bearings and was punched in the face. I had a baton shoved up my anus,” said Jacobs. “Going into the physical injuries almost pales in comparison to the emotional trauma that I went through that day.”

In a probable cause statement, Denver PD claimed Jacobs was part of a group trying to push down a gate at Lincoln Park and added they managed to bring it down and get inside. But in the video, Jacobs is outside of the fence.

“I think that’s what drove the settlement is that they know they would have to explain this to a jury of Denver residents, and it just isn’t justifiable,” said Felipe Bohnet-Gomez, Jacobs’ attorney.

Denver PD declined to comment on the settlement, but issued a statement saying the officer who used his baton did not violate the department’s use-of-force policy.

“The Denver Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau investigated this incident and the officer who used his baton was not found to have violated the Department’s Use of Force policy, though through the investigation it was determined that same officer failed to make, file or complete official reports in violation of DPD Rules and Regulations [] 607. Additional violations discovered during this IA investigation include:

  • Three supervisors were found to have violated the policy regarding Complaint and Discipline for Sworn Officers (Policy 503.01 in DPD Operations Manual []) resulting in written reprimands.
  • One of the supervisors also received an oral reprimand related to violation of body-worn camera policies”

Jacobs says he hopes this settlement sets an example for others.

“I hope this story encourages anyone else who’s been wronged to seek justice for themselves. I hope that someone seeing me be able to stand up and speak out encourages them to harness their voice in the way I have,” he said.

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