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Civil rights attorneys call for criminal investigation into Colorado Springs officers

Dalvin Gadson's attorney said his client was beaten by Colorado Springs police officers during a traffic stop in October.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — Two attorneys in Georgia, Harry Daniels and Latrice Latin, are calling for a criminal investigation into the actions of several Colorado Springs police officers after, they said, their client, 29-year-old Dalvin Gadson, was viscously beaten by officers after he was pulled over in October.

"Without any regards to his humanity," Daniels said. "It was completely inhumane."

Daniels said Gadson was a veteran living out of his car. Daniels said Gadson was honorably discharged from the Army. 

Multiple officers punched and kicked Gadson, which caused damage to his eye and ruptured his eardrum, according to Daniels.

On Monday the attorneys shared body camera video from the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD). Gadson, who's Black and homeless, was giving a man a ride to work before an officer pulled him over, according to Daniels. 

The video shows an officer asking Gadson to stay in the car and show his hands. The officer calls for backup. 

"Man, why are you trying to get out?" asks the CSPD officer.

At this point, Gadson and the passenger remain in the car.

The officer walks up to the passenger side of the car and tells the two men they were pulled over because there are no plates on the car. He takes an ID from Gadson and the passenger.

Credit: Attorneys of Dalvin Gadson

He explains to another responding officer that he plans to detain Gadson for a DUI investigation. According to Daniels, an officer smelled marijuana in the car and thought Gadson was talking slowly.

The odor of marijuana is not mentioned in a court document that police submitted to support the arrest of Gadson. A CSPD spokesperson said the probable cause affidavit is not meant to document every fact in a case and it would be improper to speculate about a case with an ongoing court proceeding.

According to the affidavit, the officer who pulled Gadson over reported he was demonstrating "unorthodox driving behavior." Before conducting the traffic stop, the officer said, Gadson was driving 15 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone.

The document says the officer reported Gadson's speech was "thick-tongued and slurred." One of the charges Gadson is still facing is driving under the influence. 

Daniels, Gadson's attorney, provided a copy of an order after a hearing on Dec. 7 with the Department of Revenue. According to the document, the hearing reviewed whether Gadson's driving privileges should be revoked for driving a car and refusing to complete a blood test. 

"Respondent’s speech in the video before his detention was not significantly different than his speech during the hearing," said the document. "After the detention, any slurring was likely due to the swelling from Respondent’s the facial injuries. As for the odor of marijuana, odor alone is insufficient without other evidence of impairment."

The "unorthodox driving behavior" and slow driving aren't mentioned in the Department of Revenue document.

A hearing officer concluded the matter must be dismissed and ordered the revocation of Gadson's driving privileges be rescinded.

Before the traffic stop in the parking lot escalated, the officer who pulled Gadson over tells another responding officer on body camera video, "I was waiting for you guys to pull him out. Looks like there's a knife in the center console."

Daniels said Gadson had a pocketknife in the car but he never reached for the knife or tried to hide it. A spokesperson for CSPD wouldn't say what type of knife was in the car due to the ongoing court case.

Several officers walk up to Gadson's car again and ask him to get out. 

"What am I coming out of the vehicle for?" asks Gadson. 

"Uh, we will talk about that, OK? So just step on out," said the CSPD officer. 

Gadson opens the driver-side door and puts both legs out of the car. He remains seated in the car. 

"We are going to detain you, OK," said the same CSPD officer. 

"Detain me?" said Gadson. 

"Yep, you are under investigation for a DUI so stand up, turn around, hands behind your back," said the CSPD officer. 

Gadson refuses. 

"Mr. Gadson refused to be detained for a DUI investigation and subsequently when he tried to stay in the car they decide to use closed-hand fists to beat him out of the car," Daniels said. "He was afraid. He felt like he didn’t do anything wrong. You stop him for a tag. Subsequently, you want him to get out of the car."

Body camera video shows the situation escalating quickly. Gadson tells officers to stop hitting him. Video shows an officer come through the passenger side door and begin hitting him too. This went on for over a minute. 

The affidavit says Gadson continued to kick, scratch and punch officers. Officers said Gadson tried several times to pull his arm out of an officer's grasp and reach toward the area of the center console, according to the arrest affidavit. The same document says an officer struck Gadson in the face with his fist "in an effort to prevent him from reaching for the knife."

Gadson is lying on the parking lot in handcuffs. Pictures from his attorneys show blood and cuts on his face, which also appears swollen.

According to Daniels, Gadson was charged with two counts of second-degree assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer, driving under the influence and driving without license plates. Daniels said both assault charges were dropped.

"I want those officers arrested," Daniels said. "I want them fired and arrested."

Colorado Springs Police Department shared a response to the arrest on Tuesday. The department says an administrative review of the officers' use of force found the actions were within policy. CSPD also released some of the body camera video of the arrest. 

“It is imperative that we look at all the facts when evaluating officer interactions with citizens. We will respect the on-going court process but welcome dialogue with our community when we are free to talk about this case further” stated CSPD Chief Adrian Vasquez.

In response to the dismissal from the Department of Revenue, CSPD said that was a separate administrative action involving Gadson's driving privilege and the decision is different from the pending criminal charge of driving under the influence. 

Credit: Attorneys of Dalvin Gadson



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