July 15, 2015 News » Long Story Short

Raising questions about excessive force 

Long Story Short

On April 16, Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey met with members of the Colorado Springs Press Association. In a casual discussion over lunch, Carey complained about inaccurate reporting and spoke of body cameras and other topics.

During the question period, I asked how many officers had been disciplined for excessive force in the previous four years. He couldn't give me a specific answer, which I thought was odd.

It seemed like something a police chief should know in light of a growing wave of excessive-force allegations nationwide, exacerbated by the shooting death last year of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City; and the Justice Department's two-year investigation of the Cleveland Police Department, which found numerous instances of excessive force, including the shooting of two unarmed citizens after a high-speed chase.

About a week after the luncheon, Carey's spokesperson answered my question: "two sustained complaints for unreasonable use of force" since 2011.

But does that tell the whole story? The Independent studied lawsuits and police reports, accumulating several data points that raise questions about how the Colorado Springs Police Department uses force.

We take a closer look at some specific cases involving local police and their use of force in a package of articles beginning here.


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