The city of Minneapolis has agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who lost his left eye after a police officer shot him in the face with a nonlethal projectile during a protest against police brutality.
On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was recorded on video murdering George Floyd by kneeling on the back of his neck for nearly ten minutes. Six days later, Soren Stevenson attended a demonstration protesting against the excessive use of force utilized by Chauvin and his fellow officers.
Standing with a large group of people in a grassy area at University Avenue and Interstate 35W before the 8 p.m. curfew, Stevenson said that he did not hear the police order them to disperse. During a press conference, Stevenson recalled, “I did not riot, I did not vandalize, I caused no damage to people or property, did not even disobey police orders.”
According to Stevenson’s lawsuit, Minneapolis Police Officer Benjamin Bauer suddenly shot him in the eye with a nonlethal 40mm projectile. Stevenson suffered a concussion, severe damage to his facial bones, and his left eye was removed.
“It took me a long time to get a job even though I was well qualified because it’s pretty hard to look at a computer screen with one eye after having two,” Stevenson told MPR News. “Merging left onto the freeway is an extremely dangerous task that I do frequently.”
On Wednesday, a city spokesperson confirmed that the city of Minneapolis has agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle Stevenson’s lawsuit. In a court document, the city asserted that it is not admitting liability and denies the validity of Stevenson’s claims.
Stevenson’s attorney, Katie Bennett, also represents Ethan Marks, who suffered blinding injuries to his right eye when a Minneapolis police officer shot him in the face with a tear gas canister. Marks said he was helping his mother clean up rubble along a Minneapolis street on May 28, 2020, when he was struck without warning on an interstate ramp.