Dalvin Gadson’s attorneys announced today, Dec. 16, they will hold a news conference on Dec. 21 in front of the Colorado Springs Police Department headquarters to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit on behalf of their client. The lawsuit will be filed against the CSPD, the city and the officers, the release said.
A check of federal court filings in Colorado today showed no such filing has been made as of yet.
“The beating has sparked national outrage since body camera video of the incident and photographs of Gadson’s injuries were released earlier this week amplifying the attorneys’ call for an independent criminal investigation into the officers’ actions and that they be charged immediately,” the release said.
The Colorado Springs Police Department issued a statement regarding the case of Dalvin Gadson.
“It is imperative that we look at all the facts when evaluating officer interactions with citizens,” Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said in the statement. “We will respect the on-going court process but welcome dialogue with our community when we are free to talk about this case further.”
The statement noted the officer observed the vehicle had no visible license plates and noticed a knife in the cup holder between the front seats of the suspect vehicle. The statement said Gadson refused to exit the vehicle and “physically fought with officers and on more than one instance re-entered the vehicle in the area of the knife.”
On Oct. 14, Internal Affairs received an online complaint regarding the arrest. “The complaint was assigned for further investigation and is still open,” the CSPD said.
An administrative review was conducted of the officers’ use of force, a standard practice, and “was found to be within policy,” the statement said.
“We have received many questions about the Department of Revenue dismissing the license revocation action against Mr. Gadson. This is a separate administrative action involving Mr. Gadson’s driving privileges. This is different from the pending criminal charge of driving under the influence.”
Noting a criminal case remains pending against Gadson, CSPD would not release the case report, though it did release the probable cause affidavit and the officers’ body worn camera footage — both of which were released by Gadson and his attorney prior to the CSPD’s release.
In closing, the CSPD said, “We value our relationship with our community and when possible, we want to have conversations about use of force involving community members. These conversations must take an honest look at the facts of the case, including an honest look at the actions of all involved. This includes officers and suspects. There is still an active criminal court case against Dalvin Demitrius Gadson Ochoa for driving under the influence, resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer, and the required display of license plates.”
Attorneys representing a homeless Black veteran are calling for a criminal investigation into an Oct. 9 incident in which Dalvin Gadson, 29, was beaten by Colorado Springs police officers following a traffic stop. He was pulled over, according to the police affidavit, because his license plate wasn’t properly displayed.
In a release, national civil rights attorneys Harry Daniels and Latrice Latin, of Georgia, said, “The beating follows a number of racially charged incidents in Colorado Springs including the city settling a lawsuit after officers assaulted a Black Lives Matter protester and an incident earlier this month where comedian Mark Curry was racially profiled and harassed by security officers at The Mining Exchange [Hotel].”
Police initially pulled Gadson over at Airport Road and South Academy Boulevard for not having a properly displayed license tag. Soon, more officers arrived.
“Claiming to smell Marijuana, which is legal in Colorado, officers ordered Gadson to exit his vehicle because they were going to detain him for suspicion of DUI,” the release says. While the possession and consumption of cannabis is legal in Colorado, drivers can still be arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Officers on the body-worn camera video footage talk about having spotted a knife in the console of the car.
“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. The beating continued even after Gadson was out of the car with the officers punching and kicking him in the head and back,” according to the release.
Daniels cited photos of his client as evidence, calling him a homeless veteran living out of his car while he tried to re-enlist. “But all these officers saw was a black man and they beat him for it, smiling for the camera as he lay on the ground bleeding,” Daniels said in the release. “They beat him mercilessly and now he’s afraid to go outside and the VA can’t see him to treat his injuries and PTSD until January.”
Body camera footage supplied by Gadson shows that after officers told him they were going to handcuff him and that he would be detained, Gadson responded, “No, I’m not [going to be detained].” At that point, officers grabbed him and a scuffle ensued.
After he was handcuffed, one officer says, “You’re under arrest, you dumb fuck.”
Another officer later said, “He was fucking acting so weird when I came up. He did not fucking wanna get out of the car. He was fighting back.”
In another body camera video, an officer tells Gadson they’re going to detain him for investigation of DUI.
While the initial reason the cops gave Gadson for the stop was the license plate violation, as depicted on the video footage, later officers said they stopped him for “demonstrating unorthodox driving behavior,” according to an affidavit for his arrest supplied to the Indy by Gadson.
The affidavit also described Gadson as uncooperative and “kicking, scratching and punching officers.”
He was later charged with two counts of assault on an officer, obstructing an officer, resisting arrest, a license plate violation and DUI.
Both charges of assault on an officer have been dropped and the DUI charge was dismissed Dec. 7, the release said.
In an email to media, including the Indy, Gadson gave this account of the incident:
“I was pulled over Sunday Oct. 9th around 2:39 am while driving a stranger to work. He woke me up from my sleep and asked for a ride down [Academy Boulevard] to his job. (Note :I was homeless, and I was sleeping in my car)
“It started as just a regular traffic stop. The officer told me to place my hands outside so he could see them, and walked to the car’s passenger side. (Note that I was not confrontational and I even greeted him with a joyous attitude.)
“Officer [Colby J.] Hickman then told me to roll my window down and said the reason he pulled me over was because he didn’t see any license plates on the car. I told him that I needed new screws to place my license plate where it needed to be. As of then, my license plate was in my back seat. (NOTE: It was supposed to be in the rear window so he could see it but it had fallen to the backseat somehow.)
“He then asked for my driver’s license and the passengers identification. I complied, giving it to him, so did the passenger. After checking my license 3 or 4 more squad cars came on the scene after 1 minute or so and all the officers walked to my car.
“Officer Hickman told me I was under investigation for a D.U.I. and I had to be detained. He was telling me to get out of the car under the suspicion of me Driving While Intoxicating, but He originally stopped me for missing license plates. (NOTE: DMV DISMISSED the revocation of my Driving Privileges because there was insufficient probable cause to require a blood test)
“I opened my door and swung my legs out and asked them if I could sit in the car. I wasn’t drinking or smoking while driving and the initial traffic stop was for missing license plates so I was confused and wanted some answers.
“Then I remember them saying no and that they would be detaining me in handcuffs. I panicked and responded with no I’m not, I didn’t mean to say that. I was more than scared from knowing that these officers in Colorado Springs shoot and harm people all the time, and fear took over my body.
“It was then when one of the peace officers violently grabbed me and my natural reaction was to pull my hand back. It was an accident. The reaction of me pulling back was my body reacting from fear, I did not try to pull my arm back. I was scared to death and I lost all my senses once the same officer(Hummel) reached in the car and started immediately punching me in the face, while pulling me out of my car.
“After the first punch I tried to say okay, I tried to say sorry, I tried to lay on the ground but I lost consciousness. I could barely feel they were grabbing me and kicking me in the head and kneeing me in the face and punching me everywhere possible. I was surprised when I got the body cams back and it sounds like I am talking trying to stop this senseless beating.
“After the first officer (Officer [Christopher] Hummel) reached in and punched me in the face and eyes I lost consciousness. I was covered in blood, badly bruised, and my eyesight was halfway gone.(keep note that my eyesight, head, spine and back is still damaged from this incident) Officer C. Hummel brought me back to life when he said “you’re under arrest…You Dumb Fuck.
“These cops were sick in the head and used the fact that I was barely conscious after being beaten to death to give reason for D.U.I.,” Gadson’s statement to the media said.
“I was falsely accused of committing criminal acts …,” he adds, “These officers deserve to be punished to the fullest extent for this. That is the only way I can sleep at night. This incident has me looking at these police officers like complete terrorists. It would completely degrade trust in our community by allowing these officers to continue to serve and protect us. Certainly serving and protecting is not what they did in this incident.”
Daniels, Gadson’s attorney, tells the Indy by phone, “It’s our position the force used against him was extremely excessive. He suffered a significant beating.”
Daniels says he and his client are seeking to have the officers terminated and prosecuted for their actions taken against Gadson. A lawsuit has not yet been filed, he says.
We’ve reached out to the Colorado Springs Police Department and Mayor John Suthers’ office for comment and will update this story when we hear something.