Excessive response 

Street Smarts

Online response to articles, videos and blog posts by the Indy regarding use of excessive force by officers of the Colorado Springs Police Department has been vast and, at times, contentious.

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John Hopkins of the southeast Springs is in military law enforcement.

What constitutes excessive force by law enforcement? Any use of force that isn't absolutely necessary is abusive. If you have to get someone down, say, and you're able to handcuff him, use of force should end right there.

What's your read of the video released this week by the Indy of a CSPD officer slamming a handcuffed young woman into the floor? I haven't seen that one, but I've seen numerous other videos of officers going overboard. Excessive use of force is a law-enforcement reality, sometimes.  

Estimate how much money the city paid out in the past five years to settle excessive force lawsuits. I'd guess in the hundred thousands. Nationally, I'd guess around a billion. 

What information does the public have a right to know when police use force, excessive or not? What happened, the circumstances surrounding it, and why force was used.

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Cris Roboson of Manitou Springs is a teacher.

What do you characterize as excessive force in law enforcement? Any act that causes unnecessary harm. 

When, if ever, is extreme force justified? Almost any use of extreme force is misuse of authority and abuse of power. It's only acceptable as a way to prevent injury when somebody is in the act of trying to hurt a police officer or another person.

Take a guess at how much the city has spent in the past five years to settle excessive force lawsuits. Two million dollars. Maybe more.

Have you seen questionable uses of force by local police? Not a single instance in Manitou. The Manitou police are helpful and caring.

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David Feliciano of the south side works at a battery store.

What do you make of the video of an officer slamming a young handcuffed woman onto the floor? First the cop pushed her down, which itself shouldn't have happened. Then, with her arms handcuffed behind her back, he lifted her up out of her seat and threw her face-first into the floor. That's 100 percent excessive. That's totally uncalled for.

Hazard a guess at how much the city has spent the past five years to settle excessive force lawsuits. Between $5 to $10 million.

Is use of force by police a pervasive problem? Not in Colorado Springs, but it is in the Southeast part of the country, where I'm from.


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