Minneapolis City Council committee approves $ 45,000 for woman who says police shot her with a projectile, knocking her out while driving


A Minneapolis city council committee on Wednesday approved a $ 45,000 settlement for a woman who said police shot her in the face with a less lethal projectile, also known as a rubber bullet, as she was walking away from protests last year, knocking her unconscious at the wheel.

Earlier this year, Autumn Larson, 25, sued the city, its police department, Mayor Jacob Frey, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and 30 unidentified officers over a host of civil rights violations it said it suffered on May 30, 2020.

Larson had attended a rally to protest the murder of George Floyd by police near 31st Street E. and Nicollet Avenue S., according to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court in Minnesota. Larson and his sister attempted to leave after the 8 p.m. curfew went into effect. She was stuck on the entrance ramp to the freeway. 55-year-old when police fired a tear gas canister at the side of his car, the lawsuit said.

Gas poured into her open window, suffocating and blinding her. She moved her head to the window to get some air and a projectile hit her on the noise deck, knocking her out, according to the lawsuit.

The impact left Larson with severe bruises, concussion and permanently impaired vision, according to the civil complaint. She continues to suffer from headaches, loss of smell, dizziness, insomnia and anxiety. The lawsuit alleges that Larson was the victim of a pattern of excessive force on the part of the police that evening, which she claims was cleared by Frey and Arradondo. It also indicates that Lt. Bob Kroll, then president of the Minneapolis Police Union, was acting as the “unofficial decision-maker” of the department that shaped the culture that led to the use of force.

The full city council is expected to give final approval to the by-law on Friday.

Larson is part of a series of lawsuits by protesters and journalists who attended rallies after Floyd’s murder last year and claim police violated their constitutional rights by using force. Many were injured by rubber bullets.

Earlier this year, a group of researchers published a review of the files of 89 people who saw a doctor during the unrest last summer, with projectile injuries, especially to the head and eyes, being the most common. The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that, “in current practice, projectiles are not suitable for crowd control.”

Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036

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