KUSA — A Denver Police lieutenant will be suspended for 10 days without pay for pepper-spraying a young man in the face outside an outreach and homeless center for teens.
Lt. Kevin Edling faced disciplinary action after the April 28, 2017 incident that took place near the Urban Peak Youth Center at 2100 Stout St.
A disciplinary report obtained by 9NEWS details the incident. Detectives from the Metro Area Theft Task Force spotted a stolen vehicle near the youth center. Officers arrested two people tied to the stolen vehicle and were attempting to process the scene when a crowd formed around them.
The report said the crowd, “became angry and several individuals began yelling obscenities and challenging officers to fights.”
Officers arrested one person threatening police and another who tried to intervene. Another person was arrested for punching a sergeant in the head.
Lt. Edling was called to the scene because of the “hostile nature of the crowd,” the report said. Police body camera video obtained by 9NEWS showed the moment Lt. Edling used his pepper spray.
A young man, referred to as “UM” in the report, was being held back when Lt. Edling stepped around an officer and sprayed the young man in the face.
The report included a statement from Lt. Edling who claimed, “I ordered the crowd to back up and received no compliance. [UM] raised his hands in a threatening manner and I deployed pepper spray to deter the threat.”
The report concluded based on body cam video that, “UM does not appear to raise his hands in a threatening manner.” The report said the footage did not support Lt. Edling’s claims and that at the time he used his pepper spray, “UM posed no credible threat to anyone.”
The report said one of Lt. Edling’s responsibilities was to deescalate the situation, “yet he walked past officers who were handling the situation without using force and escalated the situation by deploying a chemical agent.”
Lt. Edling will be suspended 10 days without pay beginning Sunday, July 15.