Springs cop sued again  

Lawsuit alleges officer brutalized 15-year-old psychiatric patient

A Colorado Springs police officer with a history of complaints of misconduct is being sued for the third time in as many years.

In a civil action filed Tuesday in the 4th Judicial District Court, Springs resident Jack Roberts accuses Officer Dale Huston of having brutalized Roberts' son, Nathan Roberts, in July of last year.

The assault allegedly occurred when Nathan, then 15, was a patient at the Cedar Springs mental-health facility. Huston and another officer were called to the facility when Nathan began acting out of control. When the teen-ager resisted arrest, Huston began beating him, according to an eyewitness account by a Cedar Springs employee.

"Out of nowhere, this cop just slammed his head hard up against the wall," the employee, Don Howard, told the Independent earlier this year. Huston then kicked Nathan in the face and stomach, Howard said.

The lawsuit names Cedar Springs and the City of Colorado Springs as co-defendants. Neither Huston nor representatives from the city attorney's office responded to requests for comment.

Taylor Davis, acting director of Cedar Springs, said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

History of misconduct

As reported by the Independent in 2001, Huston has a history of misconduct that includes being court-martialed while serving in the Marines, and twice having his testimony against criminal defendants thrown out because he had conducted illegal searches (see "Police State," March 1, 2001, available online at www.csindy.com).

One of the defendants sued Huston in federal court, and the city of Colorado Springs paid $35,000 to settle the case.

Huston was also sued last year by Roman Janowiak, who had pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana after being pulled over and searched by Huston. In a case pending in federal court, Janowiak claims Huston fabricated evidence to justify the traffic stop.

Police last year conducted an internal-affairs investigation into Roberts' allegations against Huston, but found no wrongdoing. An investigation by the city's claims office, launched when Roberts filed a claim against the city, found that Huston acted "within the scope of [his] authority," said John Davis, a staff member.

Roberts is seeking unspecified damages for Huston's "negligence and outrageous conduct," said Roberts' attorney, Dennis Sladek.

Terje Langeland


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