15 Denver police officers, chief face lawsuit alleging violent arrest at protest of sweep of homeless camp
More than a dozen Denver police officers face a lawsuit alleging they needlessly tackled, punched and beat a man in the genitals with a baton at a protest of a homeless encampment sweep in 2020.
The lawsuit, filed in Denver District Court, aims to leverage Colorado lawmakers’ decision in 2020 to end qualified immunity for state constitutional violations by police officers, thus blocking a potential legal defense by the officers.
An updated complaint filed Tuesday named as defendants 15 officers involved in the arrest and added Denver police Chief Paul Pazen.
Denver police officers rushed, tackled and hit Michael Jacobs the night of July 29, 2020, while Jacobs attended a protest of the city’s decision to clear out an encampment of people experiencing homelessness in Civic Center, according to the lawsuit.
One officer, Eric Leon, punched Jacobs in the head multiple times, the lawsuit alleges. Another officer, Greg Dulayev, used a baton to ram Jacobs in the genitals repeatedly while multiple officers held him to the ground, according to the lawsuit.
Jacobs was standing by a chain-link fence that had been erected around Lincoln Park and rattling the fence when at least three Denver police vehicles approached him, including two trucks with several officers in riot gear hanging from the sides.
Officers later wrote in a probable cause statement that Jacobs was “actively trying to break down the fence and had pushed the fence into the park and was inside the boundaries of the park.” Officers heard over the radio that Jacobs was “up against the fence” and had been “running his mouth” earlier at the Colorado State Patrol troopers inside the fencing, body camera footage shows.
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