Bar patron sues Denver cop over injury
The Denver Police Department allowed an officer with a history of excessive force to go unpunished and that behavior came to a head when the officer shoved a bar patron onto steps and injured him, a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday said.
Brandon Schreiber was attending his brother’s bachelor party on July 26, 2014, when Officer Choice Johnson decided his brother needed to go to the city’s detox unit. Schreiber questioned the officer’s decision and offered to take his brother home, the lawsuit said.
“Without warning, Officer Johnson applied a violent twohanded shove to Mr. Schreiber’s neck, sendingMr. Schreiber flying back onto a set of concrete stairs,” the lawsuit said. “Officer Johnson then got on top ofMr. Schreiber to continue his assault, as a result of which Mr. Schreiber experienced lasting and painful injuries to his shoulders, back, head and neck.”
Johnson was suspended for 30 days for his use of force, but aCivil Service Commission officer overturned it.
Johnson had 18 prior complaints of excessive force, and the lawsuit cites several of those incidents to establish a pattern with Johnson and the police department.
Johnson had never been disciplined for excessive force prior to the July 2014 incident but had been in trouble for failing to report use of force onmore than one occasion, the lawsuit said.
“This is the latest case of an outofcontrol Denver Police Officer empowered to brutalize Denver’s citizens after years of seeing citizen complaints against him go unheeded,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
Arash Jahanian of the Rathod Mohamedbhai LawFirm said Denver’s disciplinary process has become a joke to people victimized jail. It’s unbelievable to me that he has gotten awaywith no discipline whatsoever,” Schreiber said. “I hopemy coming forward can help make sure others don’t go through what I have.”
Sonny Jackson, a police department spokesman, said itwould be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation.
Johnson continues working at the department while the city appeals his disciplinary case to the full Civil Service Commission board, said Daelene Mix, a safety department spokeswoman.