Black Woman Wins $1M After Police Shot Her in Eye and Chest During Protest

by Xara Aziz

A Salem, Oregon court has awarded Eleaqia McCrae $1 million in damages after she sued the city for assaulting her and violating her civil rights during a George Floyd protest.

In the lawsuit, the woman accused the police of targeting Black people with excessive force during peaceful demonstrations in wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. During the protest, she was shot in the eye and chest and said that the assault violated her “Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to excessive force,” the Statesman Journal reported.

McCrae was awarded $250,000 in economic loss and $800,000 in non-economic loss, according to court documents. Her lawyer, Kevin Brague, said in the lawsuit’s original filing that his client participated in the protest in May 2020. When people began throwing objects, officers intervened in “full militarized gear,” he said.

The plaintiff, her sister and her friend were kneeling at the protest when police shot her with rubber bullets. The bullets caused her to lose her eyesight and she suffers from a lingering chest injury.

Attorneys who represented the police said that McCrae’s injuries were brought on by her own “negligent conduct by failing to disperse the area when the protests were no longer peaceful.”

“My client, Ms. Eleaqia McCrae, is very grateful for the jury and their recognition and validation of the facts and circumstances of this case,” Brague wrote in an email to the Statesman Journal.

The city issued a statement acknowledging that they “appreciate the jury’s work on this case and respect their verdict.”

The case comes on the heels of another incident in which a Portland man won a $100,000 settlement after he was pepper sprayed and arrested by police in another protest in 2020.

“For daring to passively refuse to allow police to do whatever illegal thing they wanted, he was attacked,” his attorney said at the time of the lawsuit’s filing.

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