George Floyd protests estimated to cost Denver $3.5 million in damage, overtime

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Protests that have taken place over the past month in Denver are estimated to have cost the city more than $3.5 million in damage and overtime costs, and that number is expected to climb, city officials say.

The protests began in late May after George Floyd died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

In Denver, as with much of the rest of the country, the protests included vandalism, with some participants spray-painting buildings and breaking out windows of government buildings and downtown businesses. Police blanketed neighborhoods in tear gas and fired nonlethal projectiles into the crowds.

So far, property damage is estimated at just over $1 million, said city spokesperson Julie Smith.

“That includes costs to board up broken windows/doors, graffiti clean-up, and damage repair,” Smith said in an email.

That’s only for city property — not privately owned buildings or other property.

That doesn’t include damage to sculptures downtown this week. A glass art installation at the McNichols building in Civic Center is likely a total loss, Smith said. A Civil War monument was toppled outside the Capitol on Thursday morning, and Friday morning city officials discovered a statue honoring Christopher Columbus had been torn down in Civic Center.

Damages are expected to climb at least another $25,000, Smith said. Some of the cost could be covered by the city’s insurance, though those details remain unclear, she said.

The larger cost, however, comes from overtime payments to police officers and other city officials.

So far the city has spent at least $2.57 million on the extra personnel costs, Smith said. That cost will likely be covered by the city’s general fund, which has already taken a substantial hit due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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