DENVER, Colorado — A man is suing the city of Denver and three Denver Police Department (DPD) officers after he says an officer drew his weapon on his three stepdaughters after a woman told 911 there was a "young black male in a hoodie" sitting in a car with a gun.
The lawsuit claims that Naphtali Israel's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when an officer confronted the young girls in the Safeway parking lot and two other officers handcuffed and searched Israel as he left the store.
The May 7 incident began with a call to 911 from a manager at the Safeway near 14th and Krameria streets, the lawsuit says. The caller said a customer told her there was a “young black male in a hoodie” sitting in a grey Cadillac with a gun.
In a snippet of the 911 call distributed by both Israel’s attorney and DPD, the manager asked for an officer to do a “drive-by” of the parking lot.
The lawsuit says a DPD sergeant arrived in the parking lot. In a video from the Safeway parking lot, that officer is seen apparently drawing a gun at the car. The doors were open at the time.
A woman inside the Safeway told Israel what was happening, and he went outside where he was confronted by officers. Body camera video distributed by Israel’s attorney shows one of them put him in handcuffs, and someone is heard telling him that officers had been told he had a gun.
Officers are seen on the video patting Israel down, while he continues to express confusion about the incident.
“I don’t know what the hell’s going on, I was in there shopping,” he’s heard saying.
Officers are later seen releasing Israel. Denver Police confirm they didn’t find any weapons on Israel or in the vehicle.
The release says “police and Safeway spent significant time apologizing.”
The lawsuit claims the officers "did not at any time have probable cause or reasonable suspicion, or any other legally valid basis, to believe that [Israel or his stepdaughters] had committed or were committing any violation of the law" when they were detained, searched or held at gunpoint.
In the lawsuit, Israel is asking both for monetary damages, as well as a written apology, policy changes and mandatory training to keep the situation from happening again.
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