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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane to pay $210K to woman struck in throat by police bean bag round during 2020 George Floyd protest

UPDATED: Thu., June 9, 2022

Protesters and police clashed in downtown Spokane on May 31, 2020, during riots after a George Floyd protest.  (Libby Kamrowski/Spokesman- / Review)
Protesters and police clashed in downtown Spokane on May 31, 2020, during riots after a George Floyd protest. (Libby Kamrowski/Spokesman- / Review)

The city of Spokane will pay a woman $210,000 for firing a nonlethal bean bag round at her throat during a downtown Black Lives Matter protest in May 2020.

The projectile strike forced Chandra Haine to undergo surgery, and her physical and mental health remains affected, according to settlement documents written by Haine’s attorney, Nicholas Kovarik, of Piskel Yahne Kovarik, PLLC in Spokane.

The documents were obtained by KREM 2 News.

Haine demanded $1,030,000, but the two parties settled on $210,000. The Spokane City Council approved the settlement amount at Monday’s council meeting.

Kovarik wrote that the claim arises from the use of “excessive and unreasonable force” against Haine by a Spokane police officer on May 31, 2020. Haine was standing next to her vehicle watching a Black Lives Matter protest in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Protesters several blocks away were ordered to disperse after they appeared to damage property, Kovarik wrote, but Haine was not involved in the vandalism. Haine was never asked to leave the area and never violated a police order or laws, the documents said.

Officers fired “less-than-lethal” projectiles at people in the area and one of them struck Haine, Kovarik wrote. She sustained an “open fracture of her left mandibular alveolar process,” which required surgery. Her neck was also injured and she underwent treatment for that.

Haine incurred more than $89,000 in medical expenses by July 7, 2020, according to records. An extra $1 million was estimated for future medical expenses and past and future pain and suffering, Kovarik wrote.

Haine has permanent physical deformities, including scars and swelling of her face and neck. She has numbness on her lower lip, jaw, chin and throat, and she can no longer close the left side of her mouth, documents said. Haine also has difficulty chewing and her voice is hoarse.

The physical limitations have caused Haine depression, embarrassment and loss of confidence. She is also easily frightened by loud noises, images of police activity and has difficulty sleeping, Kovarik wrote.

Haine’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. Brian Coddington, a city spokesperson, said he didn’t immediately have comment Thursday evening.

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