Colorado Springs Police Department faces another allegation of excessive force

· Dec. 12, 2022, 12:40 pm
The Colorado Springs Police Operations Center in downtown Colorado Springs.The Colorado Springs Police Operations Center in downtown Colorado Springs.Courtesy wikimedia commons
The Colorado Springs Police Operations Center in downtown Colorado Springs.

Updated 12/13/22 at 3:32 p.m.

A civil rights attorney is calling for a criminal investigation into the Colorado Springs Police Department following the alleged beating of a Black man during an arrest. The incident is one of several race-related allegations involving the department in recent months.

Civil Rights attorney Harry Daniels said his client, 29-year-old veteran Dalvin Gadson, was pulled over in early October for failing to properly display a license plate. Gadson was unhoused at the time and was living in the vehicle.

According to Gadson's account of the incident, officers said they smelled marijuana and told him to exit his vehicle to be detained for driving under the influence.

"When Gadson refused to get out of his car because he didn’t understand why he was being detained, the officers attempted to force him out, punching him repeatedly in the head and face," Gadson's attorney said in an emailed statement. "The beating continued even after Gadson was out of the car with the officers punching and kicking him in the head and back."

Gadson received multiple injuries as a result of the arrest, including eye injuries, a ruptured eardrum and PTSD, according to his lawyer.

The allegations come as three CSPD officers are being sued for allegedly using excessive force during the 2020 arrest of a teenage girl. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also recently called for an investigation into the department for violent and racist comments allegedly made by police officers during protests and marches in 2020 and 2021.

In a statement, CSPD said its department of Internal Affairs received an online complaint regarding the arrest on October 14. 

"The complaint was assigned for further investigation and is still open. Separately, as is standard practice, an administrative review of the officers’ use of force was also conducted by the chain of command and was found to be within policy," the statement said.

CSPD also released the arrest affidavit for the incident.

In the document, arresting officers allege Gadson was driving 15 mph in a 45 mph zone, was "thick-tongued" and slurring his speech, and had a knife in the center console of his vehicle. He is described as aggressive toward officers, refusing multiple times to get out of the car.

Both the police and Gadson's lawyer said the incident escalated when an officer told him he was "going to be detained in handcuffs."

In footage from a camera worn by one of the arresting officers, Gadson can be heard responding "no, I'm not."

That's when at least three officers attempted to remove him from the vehicle.

"Dalvin continued to fight by kicking, scratching and punching officers. Dalvin attempted multiple times to pull his left arm out of Officer Hickman's grasp and reach toward the area of the center console," the affidavit reads.

According to the officers involved, one of them struck Gadson in the face with his fist multiple times in an effort to prevent him from reaching the knife and to get him to exit the vehicle.

In additional body-cam footage, Gadson can be heard repeatedly asking, "what the f*** did I do?" while officers yell at him to "get the f*** out of the vehicle."

Attorneys for Gadson said he has had several charges related to the incident dismissed, including a misdemeanor DUI charge and two felony charges of Second Degree Assault on a Police Officer. He was also charged with Resisting Arrest and Obstructing a Peace Office, both misdemeanors.

In a statement Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said "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,” he said.

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