Black veteran files lawsuit against CSPD officers, alleging excessive use of force

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Dalvin Gadson, center, appeared at a news conference with his attorneys, Kevin Mehr, left, and Harry Daniels, right. Pam Zubeck

A lineup of attorneys held a news conference Dec. 21, announcing the filing of a federal lawsuit against three Colorado Springs Police Department officers.

Those officers — Colby Hickman, Matthew Anderson and Christopher Hummel — engaged in a traffic stop of Dalvin Gadson, 29, for not having a license plate on Oct. 9.

We previously wrote about the incident here.

Harry Daniels, a civil rights attorney from Atlanta, Georgia, appeared with other attorneys and local demonstrators outside the Police Operations Center.

“This is a case that needs to be publicized,” he said. “This has happened so many times in America across the country. We’re sick and tired of it. This isn’t just about filing a lawsuit. This is about removing bad applies from the streets.”

“What happened to Mr. Gadson on Oct. 9 is unconstitutional,” he added. “This man was beaten.”

Daniels said officers have to warn citizens when they intend to use force, which they did not in the Gadson incident. “They didn’t say a damn thing before they beat him. It’s a blessing that Mr. Gadson is here today.”

Gadson, his lawyers said, suffered a black eye, a closed brain injury and mental health impacts.

Gadson, who appeared at the news conference, said, “I feel hurt. My feelings were hurt. My body hurts…. We definitely need justice in Colorado Springs.”

A group of about 20 supporters showed up at the news conference. Pam Zubeck

Kevin Mehr, a Colorado Springs attorney who’s part of the legal team, told reporters, “The body cam speaks for itself…. Kicking someone in the face is not justified.”

Attorney Bakari Sellers of South Carolina noted that Gadson was pummeled by officers and then at least one officer “smirked” about it. “I wouldn’t even treat a dog this way. Mr. Gadson was treated less than that, and then he was charged.”

Sellers said his client seeks justice, accountability, transparency and to assure a similar incident never occurs again.

From the lawsuit:

After Gadson said he didn’t want to get out of the car, “Defendants Hickman and Hummel physically attempted to remove Mr. Gadson from his vehicle on the driver’s side and struck Mr. Gadson in his face multiple times with a closed fist.

“Defendant Hummel then kneed Mr. Gadson in his forehead causing him to fall back inside his vehicle.

“Then without any hesitation, Defendant Anderson immediately came in from the passenger side of the vehicle and commenced striking Mr. Gadson in his head repeatedly with a closed fist. Defendant Anderson struck Mr. Gadson over 20 times with his closed fist.”

These "before" and "after" photos of Gadson are included in the lawsuit. Civil rights lawsuit filed by Dalvin Gadson

The lawsuit doesn’t state a dollar figure of damages, which isn’t required at this stage of litigation. It seeks “compensatory and consequential damages,” including for pain and suffering and emotional distress, economic losses, special damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs, and pre- and post-judgment interest.

CSPD issued a lengthy statement earlier this month after the body cam footage was released by Gadson and his legal team. That statement can be found at the link above, but to recap, police said the use of force had been deemed “within policy” by an administrative review, but that a complaint received regarding the incident was being investigated by Internal Affairs.

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