Protests that have taken place over the past month in Denver are estimated to have cost the city and private businesses more than $5.5 million in damages and overtime costs, and that number is expected to climb, 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, private businesses downtown have reported roughly $2 million in damage, said Britt Diehl, spokesperson for the Downtown Denver Partnership. But that’s likely a conservative estimate.
“We know that many properties experienced damage but haven’t reported it,” Diehl said.
Damage to city property 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.
But it doesn’t include damage to sculptures downtown this week. In addition, a glass art installation at the McNichols building in Civic Center was damaged, Smith said. Previously assumed to be a total loss, the installation can likely be partially repaired.
The glass art cost $151,702 to install, said Amber Fochi, program manager for the marketing arm of the city’s arts and culture department.
“We are working with the artist on the repair process right now,” 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.
Some of the damage could be covered by the city’s insurance, though those details remain unclear, she said.
The larger cost from the protests 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.