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Man files lawsuit, says rubber bullet shattered skull during 2020 protests

On May 31, Michael Driscoll was in a group that was chanting "I can't breathe," when he fell to the ground, screaming in pain.

DENVER — Michael Driscoll was live streaming at protests in downtown Denver in 2020 when, he says, officers hit him with a rubber bullet that broke his skull.

"The pain comes from here and also here where the surgical scar is sensitive too," Driscoll said, motioning to the front of his head, where his sinuses were cracked, and the back, where a doctor had to put 53 staples. 

The 24-year-old was in a crowd at Cherokee Street and 13th Avenue on May 31, protesting in the name of George Floyd, when, his video appears to show, police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets. 

One hit him in the temple. 

"I screamed in pain and I turned over and buried my head into my hands and couldn’t see and stumbled around," Driscoll said. 

A stranger eventually drove him to the hospital. 

More than a year later, he is filing a lawsuit against Denver Police and the city, alleging they violated his civil rights. 

According to the suit, Driscoll was holding a shield that read "ACAB"--an acronym that stands for "All Cops are Bastards"--and when he held up the shield, he was shot with a rubber bullet.

"This was black and white. This was a lot of space, no interaction," Driscoll's attorney, Milo Shwab, said. "I don’t know if it’s that they wanted to enforce the curfew or if they didn’t like the speech. It seems like it was more the latter." 

RELATED: Judge modifies order limiting DPD's use of less-lethal devices during protests

Driscoll said he had to have facial reconstruction surgery because of the rubber bullet. But more than the pain, it's the anxiety he now faces every day that's difficult. 

“Emotionally I’m impacted by it," he said. 

Denver Police declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation. 

RELATED: Jury sides with man shot by officer in 2013, awards him more than $2.4 million

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