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“He’s Being a Dick”: Denver Cop Scolded for Language, Not Racist Policing

Keilon Hill, who was involved in a traffic accident in the spring of 2020, has filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Denver and three members of the Denver Police Department, claiming that their treatment of him was illegal and bore all the earmarks of excessive force and racial bias. Hill is Black; the three officers are white.

Citing pending litigation, the DPD declined to comment about the February 3 complaint, whose defendants include officers Thomas Ludwig and Gary Yampolsky, as well as Corporal Bart Stark. But Andrea Webber, records administrator for the Denver Department of Public Safety, stresses that while an internal-affairs inquiry into the matter found no evidence that inappropriate force had been used against Hill, supervisors did feel that some of Ludwig’s language was inappropriate. Among other things, body-worn video caught the officer referring to Hill as “a dick” and dubbed his request to speak to a lawyer “liberal bullshit.”

Ludwig’s punishment? He was given a good talking-to.

On April 27, 2020, Hill was 25 and taking classes remotely through Louisiana State University (he has since earned a master’s degree in business administration). He “was heading home on I-25 when he was in a minor car accident,” says attorney Benjamin DeGolia of Denver-based Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, part of the team that represents Hill. “He was in the middle lane, and a driver in the first lane tried to merge over and hit his car. Keilon ended up flagging the first driver down, moved to the shoulder, called 911 and told the dispatcher that he’d been in an accident.”

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