Last week, a federal jury awarded a blind man $100,000 in compensatory damages and $300,000 in punitive damages in a lawsuit against a Denver police officer who slammed the elderly man against a counter during an arrest.
The incident occurred on May 22, 2012. Philip White, of Eagle, CO, who had been in Denver for a conference on technical advancements to assist the blind, arrived at a Greyhound Bus Terminal to return home. He attempted to board a bus, but was told that the bus was full. White wanted to speak with staff to discuss other options, but was denied, and security guards told him to leave because he was “trespassing.” When White did not leave, the guards called the police.
When the police officers arrived at the scene, White was on the phone with 911 asking if they could help him.
White asked one of the officers if he could touch his badge (a blind person’s way of verifying that he was indeed an officer). The officer declined, and instead wrenched White’s arms behind his back and slammed his head forward into a ticket counter. The 77-year-old man, now bleeding from his head, was taken to the Denver jail, and was released about eight hours later free of criminal charges.
White, who is now 80 and has never had any other problems with the law, filed a lawsuit against the officer. The jury agreed that the officer used excessive force, although the police department contends that they did not find any violations of policy in the officer’s conduct.
Police Brutality / Personal Injury Lawyers in Denver, CO
Police in Denver and throughout Colorado have a long history of respected service, but there are also a number of issues that arise involving misconduct. This includes excessive force, which can lead to injury or even death. It is important to understand the rights and limitations on police officers, as well as what your own rights are if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
Police officers are generally permitted to use areasonable amount of force when arresting a person. Even if a person momentarily tries to resist officers, extreme force would not be justified. Because the definition of “reasonable force” is so subjective, it has been surrounded by much controversy, and many feel that some officers routinely overstep their bounds against certain racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
If an officer uses more force than necessary, they could face serious penalties, including civil liability and criminal prosecution.
Injured victims of police brutality are encouraged to get in touch with a Denver personal injury attorney at Jordan, Herington & Rowley. You have the right to seek legal counsel, and we may be able to help you pursue compensation.
To begin discussing your case for free with our highly respected team, call us anytime day or night at (303) 465-8733.