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Beaten and Tased by Police but Not Arrested

Discussion in 'Constitutional Law & Civil Rights' started by bluetiger82, Sep 8, 2019.

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  1. bluetiger82

    bluetiger82 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Colorado
    The incident occurred in Commerce City, CO. I was assaulted by a police officer, and taken to the hospital for taser and baton injuries. I have some minor damage to the ligament in my thumb, extensive bruising and aggravated tendinitis. I was never arrested, no one was, as I didn't do anything illegal, just insulted him. They are refusing to release the incident report to me, or bodycam footage.

    No lawyer will take my case because my injuries aren't bad enough and I don't already have the footage (I've called 20 or so). What do I do? Why won't a lawyer take my case if he could get the footage? I only called personal injury and civil rights lawyers.

    The fact I wasn't arrested shows I am innocent, even according to the police, so the assault would be by definition excessive force. Is this correct?

    I feel like I have to fight this myself. How do I legally petition for the footage? I also have many witnesses who will testify to police brutality. I will give them all complaint forms (the police initially lied to me and told me the forms don't exist when I went into the station, I have them on footage lying).

    Thank you for your time.
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    No. You do not give enough information to assess the reasonableness of the force used, and your assessment is surely biased in your favor. When did this happen? It could be that the matter was submitted without you in custody and a warrant could issue later if charges are justified.

    Lack if an arrest does not in any way factor in to whether forced used was reasonable. What matters are the circumstances at the time force was used.
     
  3. bluetiger82

    bluetiger82 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you. This happened last Sunday. And I have spoken to the police many times since then. Do you have any info regarding getting the bodycam footage and an incident report from the police? I really want to hold abuse of power accountable, and ensure nobody else in the community is hurt by this individual.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Your inability to interest local attorneys says a lot about the strength of your argument against the police.
    If you are not able to figure out how to obtain the information you desire you might interest a media source to help you get it.
    Procedures vary by jurisdiction.
     
  5. bluetiger82

    bluetiger82 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well, yes. Currently I have no case. I am poor. I have no resources, and the payout won't be big enough for a pro-bono lawyer to take my case. That's why I need the footage, as they said to call them back if I obtained it. Thank you for the advice.
     
  6. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    You could go to a law library and study up on how to file pro se. Why didn't any of the "many witnesses" have cell phone video of the altercation?
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Just to add... There might not be any footage. Not all officers are equipped with cameras, not all tasers have cameras, and not all police cars have cameras.

    Were you in an area where something other than police cameras may have captured the incident?

    Look up information regarding Colorado's Open Records Act for guidance on how to make a request of the police department. You can even contact the department's public information officer for informtion on how to properly request what you want, if it exists.
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It is possible that charges against you are still pending. Sometimes police do not make an arrest but still forward all the information to the District Attorney. The DA weighs the evidence and decides whether to prosecute and will request a warrant. Once the warrant issues you could be arrested later.
    Since you were injured during the incident it is possible they opted to not arrest you at the time to avoid having to obtain a medical clearance and expend an officer to sit with you potentially for hours at the hospital.
    This could take 2-3 weeks... so you may not be in the clear on this.
     
  9. bluetiger82

    bluetiger82 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    In their own words, it happened so fast they couldn't respond.
     
  10. bluetiger82

    bluetiger82 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Turns out it was a private security officer who was contracted by the city; they gave him a police vest. I am working with the detective on the case, and he told me there is in fact bodycam footage. Thank you for all your advice, but given these updates, lawyers are now interested in my case. Have a great week and an even better life mightymoose.
     
  11. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    File a criminal complaint if you haven't done so.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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  13. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Are we talking about the incident in the video or is this a repeat?

    Security blew it. Hands off is the best policy for private security.
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Old sarge was very wise not to get involved in whatever the security dude instigated.

    Unsure about who did what to whom and when, but things are certainly contentious in Commerce City.
     
  15. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Unfortunately this is why no attorney will take your case without video footage. You want the attorney to take the case for free on contingency (not pro bono, which is purely for free.) While I sympathize with your position, understand that everyone needs to pay the bills. If your case results in the likelihood that the attorney won't even break even, then it's understandable that the attorney doesn't want to lose money fighting your case.

    You can always contact a state bar or law association to see if there will be an attorney who will take the case pro bono, to help the poor or indigent at no charge which is usually not dependent solely on the amount of damages. My guess is that you'll hear the same answer. There are unfortunately so many instances of wrongdoing with limited amounts of pro bono legal assistance that the higher priority cases with greater wrongs must be given greater weight. I used to do this in law school, choosing cases where low income senior citizens were exploited.

    Unfortunately there isn't always a way to right every wrong and you may need to take this on yourself, as others have stated you can above. Good luck.
     

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