Denver officers accused of racial profiling in federal suit

The car was driven by a black man whose car was registered out of Aurora.

DENVER - Video from a Denver Police officer’s body camera shows an arrest from last year that is now at the center of a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City and County of Denver and three officers.

According to the lawsuit, Deon Jones claims officers violated his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights and he was racially profiled. It states that in April of 2016, Jones was waiting for a friend in his SUV at a parking garage near Pearl Street and East Colfax Avenue.

The lawsuit says a passing officer decided to run Jones’ license plates. Jones’ attorney, David Lane, claims the officer only decided to approach Jones after learning the vehicle was from Aurora – which has a high African American population.

Video shows officers ordering Jones to get out of his vehicle. At one point, an officer opens Jones’ driver side door and draws his firearm when Jones appears to reach for his pocket. Jones then slams the car door shut. 

“There are a lot of dead African American men in this country who have done less than that,” Lane said.

Eventually Jones gets out of his SUV and he is arrested by three officers. Lane says charges stemming from the arrest were dismissed. Lane also says if it weren’t for the body camera video, he likely wouldn’t have taken Jones’ case.

“[The police] can’t really change a lot of the facts in their reports,” Lane said. “If all I had to go on were the reports… this case probably wouldn’t have resulted in a federal civil rights lawsuit.”

A spokesman for the Denver Police department released a statement Monday that said the department could not comment because it had not yet been formally notified of the lawsuit. The statement also asked that the “public reserve judgment until all the facts of the case are available.”

Lane is known for high profile cases involving law enforcement. He recently sued the city over the right to protest at Denver International Airport. He also sued Adams County after an inmate died from dehydration.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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