UPDATE: CSPD accused of excessive force in November 2022 death

Called to respond to a man having mental issues, officers cuffed the man who later died.
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[Photo by Bryan Grossman]

This story has been updated with comments from the District Attorney’s Office and the Colorado Springs Police Department.

It’s also been updated with additional allegations from the family’s attorneys about reaction to the incident from a Critical Response Team member.


The same attorneys representing Dalvin Gadson Ochoa in a federal lawsuit alleging excessive force by the Colorado Springs Police Department last October accuse CSPD of excessive force in an incident in which a man died.

In a news release, Harry Daniels and Bakari Sellers allege that body camera footage of the arrest of 63-year-old Kevin Dizmang demonstrates officers “strangled [him] to death in the midst of a mental health crisis.”

One cop repeatedly says, “Put your hands behind your back” and Dizmang makes utterances that raise questions about his understanding of the situation.

They also state that the Colorado Springs Crisis Response Team responded to the incident and that the El Paso County Coroner’s Office coroner’s report ruled the death as a homicide.

The coroner report stated that Dizmang “died as a result of cardiopulmonary arreset in the setting of physical restraint, acute methamphetamine intoxication, COPD and asthma, cardiomegaly, diaphragmatic paralysis and obesity. This injury was incurred in a police-involved encounter.”

He died on Nov. 15, 2022, after police were sent to a call of a man having a mental health episode. Fox21 News reported the officers who were involved here.

“Dizmang’s death, which bears a haunting similarity to George Floyd’s 2020 murder at the hands of officers with the Minneapolis Police Department, is only the latest excessive force incident involving the CSPD,” the attorneys said in a release. “In fact, CSPD officers were sued after pictures and video of them violently beating 29-year-old black veteran Dalvin Gadson went viral in December.” We reported on that here.

The attorneys represent Dizmang’s family, the release said.

“Mr. Dizmang was in the midst of a mental health crisis begging for his life,” Daniels said, noting crisis response teams are designed specifically to prevent these kinds of tragedies from happening. “And the very people who were sent to help him strangled him to death instead. They were telling him they were helping him at the same time they were killing him.”

Dizmang was in traffic near the 200 block of Mount View Lane when authorities arrived, but had left the road when he was tackled and strangled while a police officer tried to put him in handcuffs. Dizmang was unarmed.

The incident was to be investigated by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. We’ve asked about the status of that investigation and will update when we hear something.

The CSPD issued a statement saying, “The incident involving Kevin Dizmang was investigated and turned over the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for review…. A joint statement will be released by the Colorado Springs Police and Fire Department’s later this afternoon.”

Howard Black, a spokesman for the DA’s Office says the matter was investigated and was ruled “justified.” There will be no criminal charges filed.

The CSPD issued this statement just before 5 p.m.:

“Anytime a community member dies, we are saddened at the loss of life. We take these events seriously and, in this case, had the Deadly Force Investigation Team, led by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, investigate this event. They then sent the case to the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for review and determination of the reasonableness of the force that was used. This exceeds the requirement by Colorado law, but we believe it is best for transparency and honest review for our community.

“All of our Community Response Team members are highly trained professionals, coming from diverse backgrounds with the goal of assisting our community members who are in crisis and need immediate intervention. The team is comprised of a Colorado Springs Police Department Officer, a Colorado Springs Fire Department Paramedic, and a Diversus Health Clinician. Unfortunately, even with all of the training and expertise on this CRT team, we can’t control every factor involved in an interaction with a community member such as the actions, underlying medical conditions and intoxication of the involved person prior to our involvement.

“We respect the ongoing process by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and would refer you to them for further comment.”

Now, the Dizmang family’s attorneys are “calling for justice” after releasing new body cam video  that shows Colorado Springs Crisis Response Team (CRT) member Nicholas Fischer “admitting his own recklessness while joking with others” after the fatal incident.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” Fischer, a paramedic with the Colorado Spring Fire Department (CSFD), said describing the incident, a news release from the attorneys said. “I went to pull drugs out and she said ‘Go help him.’ So I was like, oop, high school football.”

“Good form, hommie,” a voice can be heard commenting to which Fischer responds, “Well, not so much.”

The release also notes that the decision by District Attorney Michael Allen not to file charges against the officers was released to reporters before he contacted the victim’s family.

“Chief Vasquez and the CSPD want us to believe that their CRT members are ‘highly trained professionals,’” Daniels said in the release. “But Nicholas Fischer clearly didn’t know what he was doing. That’s why he tackled Kevin Dizmang, that’s why he used excessive and unnecessary force and that’s why a 63-year-old grandfather in the middle of a mental health crisis died on the side of the road.”

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