Man sues af­ter be­ing tased

The law­suit al­leges the in­ci­dent shows a pat­tern of ex­ces­sive force by of­fi­cers.

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Noelle Phillips

A Den­ver po­lice of­fi­cer used ex­ces­sive force when he fired a Taser at a home­less man, and the of­fi­cer and fel­low of­fi­cers pre­pared false po­lice re­ports about what hap­pened, ac­cord­ing to a law­suit filed Thurs­day in U.S. District Court in Den­ver.

Gre­gory Heard, 53, filed the law­suit. Heard claims Den­ver po­lice Of­fi­cer Greg Du­layev used ex­ces­sive force against him, vi­o­lat­ing his Fourth Amend­ment rights. The city is named as a de­fen­dant in the law­suit be­cause the Den­ver Po­lice Depart­ment failed to train and su­per­vise Du­layev on prop­erly us­ing force, the law­suit said.

Heard, who is rep­re­sented by Hol­land, Hol­land, Edwards and Gross­man, is ask­ing for an un­spec­i­fied amount in dam­ages.

Den­ver po­lice spokes­woman Chris­tine Downs said, “We re­spect the ju­di­cial process and we ask the pub­lic to re­serve judg­ment un­til the con­clu­sion of the law­suit.”

The in­ci­dent reached the pub­lic eye in Jan­uary when two ac­tivist groups shared video of the June 2016 in­ci­dent, call­ing it an ex­am­ple of why the pub­lic needed to be in­volved in rewrit­ing the Den­ver Po­lice Depart­ment’s use-of-force pol­icy.

Po­lice Chief Robert White even­tu­ally ap­pointed a com­mu­nity ad­vi­sory board, and that group’s work is on­go­ing.

Du­layev en­coun­tered Heard af­ter po­lice were called to the 1900 block of North Clark­son Street on a re­port of home­less men fight­ing. Heard was hid­ing in bushes.

Du­layev or­dered Heard to come out of the bushes, swear­ing as he threat­ened to use his Taser on Heard, ac­cord­ing to video footage. As Heard emerged from the bushes, Du­layev fired the Taser and then tack­led Heard. Heard suf­fered scrapes as a re­sult, the law­suit said.

“Mr. Heard was never given a chance to peace­fully sur­ren­der and com­ply with Of­fi­cer Du­layev’s com­mands,” the law­suit said.

Du­layev, a fel­low of­fi­cer and a sergeant all wrote re­ports that said Heard was ag­gres­sive and the Taser use was ap­pro­pri­ate and within the depart­ment’s guide­lines.

The in­ci­dent shows a pat­tern of ex­ces­sive force by of­fi­cers, the law­suit said.

“Den­ver de­ter­mined that Of­fi­cer Du­layev’s use of force was essen­tially text­book and on point, when, in re­al­ity, it was not in com­pli­ance with mod­ern and well-es­tab­lished po­lice train­ing,” the law­suit said. “The city of Den­ver has cre­ated, fos­tered and tol­er­ated an en­vi­ron­ment and cul­ture of law en­force­ment bru­tal­ity and de­lib­er­ate in­dif­fer­ence to the con­sti­tu­tional rights of cit­i­zens and res­i­dents.”

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