CSPD hands-on policing 

  • CSPD

In an unusual move, the Colorado Springs Police Department released Response to Aggression forms filed by Officer David Nelson. They were released, because Nelson's stop of Ryan and Benjamin Brown was deemed of "overwhelming public interest."

On Sept. 1, 2011, Officer David Nelson twice tased Matthew J. Barker, a black 18-year-old, who was sought after he dashed away from robbing a legally blind man of $1,500 outside a bank in the Circle Drive and Platte Avenue vicinity. "Subject fled police, subject failed to comply with verbal commands," Nelson wrote on the RTA form.

Nelson, who was helping search for Barker, encountered him in an alley when Barker returned to a construction business near the bank where he had earlier shed some of his clothing in the bathroom. Nelson chased him. "As I approached Mr. Barker with my duty weapon drawn," Nelson's report says, "he charged towards me as I began giving verbal commands to stop. I did not see any weapons on Mr. Barker, at which time, I holstered my firearm and deployed my taser, striking Mr. Barker." When Barker tried to stand up, Nelson tased him again "and he complied."

Barker later confessed to Nelson and was charged with robbery, to which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and given four years probation.

On March 12, 2012, Nelson tased Phinheas L. McNeal, 26, who's also black, after McNeal caused a disturbance at his former girlfriend's house over the ashes of their deceased son.

"Subject involved in [first degree] criminal trespass," Nelson wrote on the RTA form. "Subject voluntarily sat in police cruiser. When he was told he was under arrest he threw a heart shaped urn at me striking the inside of police car. Subject stated you are going to have to taze me. Probes were ineffective but [suspect] immediately complied."

The ex-girlfriend later refused to press charges.

• On March 5, 2014, Nelson and another officer, Christopher Mace, chased Jack W. Colten, 24, who's white, after being called to assist with a "suicidal suspect armed with a handgun."

The officers cornered Colten near a retaining wall where Mace kicked Colten in the face, and Nelson "delivered multiple knee strikes to Colten's back and shoulder area," according to police reports.

From Nelson's RTA form, "I attempted to get his hands out from [in] front of him and he would not comply. I used several knee strikes to his upper and lower back as the suspect continued to resist and struggle."

Colten was treated at Memorial Hospital for abrasions and later apologized to the officers, saying, "Thank you for not shooting me," Mace's report says. Colten was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and obstructing a police officer, but failed to appear in court, prompting a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest. Colten has been charged in the past with various charges, including carrying a concealed weapon, theft, menacing, driving without a license, vehicle theft, assault and child abuse.

— Pam Zubeck

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