Thursday, April 7, 2016

Excessive force case against city will continue, judge rules

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 1:15 PM

click to enlarge Ronald Brown's case against Colorado Springs police officers is still alive after a bid by the city have it dismissed. - BOOKING PHOTO
  • Booking photo
  • Ronald Brown's case against Colorado Springs police officers is still alive after a bid by the city have it dismissed.
Ronald Brown's case against the City of Colorado Springs and numerous police officers will continue to be litigated after federal Senior District Judge Richard P. Matsch on Monday denied the city's motion for summary judgment that sought dismissal based on officers' governmental immunity and other arguments.

Matsch also denied a motion for summary judgment filed by one of Brown's attorneys, Josh Tolini.

At issue is a May 29, 2012, incident on Rusty Nail Point in which the CSPD's Tactical Enforcement Unit (SWAT team) bombed Brown's house when he refused to emerge from his basement for hours of flash bangs, gas cannisters lobbed through windows and demands delivered through a bullhorn. The CSPD knew Brown suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his years in the military but didn't seek assistance from Fort Carson to deal with Brown's condition.

The incident was the centerpiece of the Independent's "Full Force" cover story that ran July 15, 2015, and also explored other incidents of excessive force, which have cost taxpayers $400,000 in settlements alone.

In depositions, as cited in Brown's motion for summary judgment on the point that police used excessive force, police admitted there was no immediate threat to life when they set off the bomb, which blew out the home's windows and a large hole in the floor. An expert for the defense, Dan Montgomery, former Westminster police chief who consults on police and public safety practices, concluded:

• No exigent circumstances existed and time was on the side of the police.
• The incident did not involve an active shooter and containment had been achieved.
• The police failed to consider alternative approaches.
• It was an egregious determination to use a bomb instead of waiting for the medium sized robot that was on its way from Fort Carson and would have served the same purpose as detonating the bomb.
• The bomb that was deployed constituted lethal deadly force and that deployment led to the serious bodily injuries suffered by Brown.

Read the entire motion here:

The city's motion for summary judgment concluded with this:
Here, Plaintiff has not shown that any CSPD officers lack training in the use of force under the Fourth Amendment. Moreover, Plaintiff has not shown that any failure to train has been a result of the City’s deliberate indifference. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s failure to train or supervise claim against the City should be dismissed.
Read the city's argument here:

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