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City settles claim from injured protester for $2.95 million

Brad Ayala was 16 years old when he was seriously injured during the 2020 protests.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin City Council members voted Thursday to settle for $2.95 million a lawsuit from a then 16-year-old teen injured by a police projectile in the May 2020 social justice protests.

The settlement for Brad Levi Ayala brings the total to more than $13 million that the City has agreed to pay in claims from injured protesters.

Ayala was one of the most injured participants during the weekend of May 28, 2020, and what happened to him captured public attention. Social media videos showed him standing near Interstate 35 with his hands to his side when he collapsed after being struck by a police bean-bag round.

Family members said Ayala suffered a brain injury.

The officer who authorities said used the round on Ayala, Nicholas Gebhart, was recently among 19 Austin police officers indicted on assault charges stemming from allegations of excessive force during the protests.

City council members did not comment on the settlement in approving it.

Two weeks ago, they also settled cases from two of the other most seriously injured protesters. Officials paid $8 million to Justin Howell, a Texas State University student at the time who also suffered head trauma from a munition, and $2 million to Anthony Evans, who was struck in the cheek from one of the rounds.

The city still has about a dozen pending suits against it from the protests.

"We thought he was going to die," his brother said during an Austin City Council meeting in June 2020. "He was still in his Jersey Mike's uniform when they shot him. ... We just want to know the truth. We just want transparency from the police to know what happened."


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