On October 14, a jury found that Denver’s police department used excessive force in a 2010 incident that killed one prisoner. The jurors awarded the victim’s family more than $4.5 million in punitive damages.
According to reports, the 56-year-old street preacher was arrested on drug paraphernalia charges. After an altercation, five officers laid on top of the victim, crushing him. Another officer shot the prisoner with a Taser, shocking his lower body for eight seconds.
Yet another officer applied a sleeper hold, cutting off the man’s carotid artery. A Denver medical examiner ruled that the man’s death was a homicide, caused by “cardiorespiratory arrest during physical restraint.”
The police department declined to pursue criminal charges against the officers, arguing that the force they used was “within department policy.” The victim’s family disagreed, calling the incident a “malicious overreaction” to a frail, elderly homeless man.
Attorneys representing the officers argued that the victim died from poor health, rather than the officer’s actions. They noted that heart disease, emphysema and cocaine use were “significant contributing factors” in his death.
Despite all the mitigating factors, seven jurors found the officers guilty of excessive force. After another deliberation, the jury sent the officers an “unmistakable and clear message” about their behavior, awarding the victim’s family $4.5 million in punitive damages.
Wrongful Death Attorney in Colorado
Wrongful death lawsuits are always incredibly emotional, because they involve the death of a loved one. In those times, you need an attorney with an effective legal strategy to guide you through the tough decisions.
If your loved one’s death was preventable, come share your story with the attorneys at Metier Law Firm. Our experience could make all the difference in your case.
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