Colorado Springs, CO — When his daughter was accidentally stuck by a car, Carl Anderson, Jr., a Marine combat veteran, was determined to stay by her side in the hospital until she made a recover.
His daughter Charlotte “was severely injured when his fiancé Carissa Hiteshew, who was five months pregnant with his son at the time, accidentally struck her with a car.” She had a cracked skull and was recovering in the hospital's intensive care unit when a dad's worrisome hospital stay turned into assault and battery by police.
Anderson is now suing the Teller County’s sheriff’s department and Colorado Springs Police Department for the incident which took place on April 17, 2019.
According to Anderson, a detective with the Teller County’s sheriff’s department entered Charlotte's hospital room that day and demanded — with no warrant and no explanation — that Anderson and Carissa hand over their cell phones. As anyone who respects the rule of law and privacy would do, Anderson politely refused and asked for a warrant.
Instead of calling to get a warrant, which could have happened in under an hour, the detective called for muscle in the form of three Colorado Springs cops. The officers wanted to search the couple's phones to look for evidence of child abuse because they didn't believe the couple's story. Instead of following the law, however, the cops decided to go rogue.
“We had told them earlier: Let us make sure that Charlotte is OK and then come back and we’ll answer your questions,” Andersen said. “When they came back, it was with force. They did not come back with intent to say: ‘Hey, you guys settled in yet? Can you answer some questions now?’ Nope. They came back looking for a fight.”
The cops and the detective then made it clear they were not going to get a warrant and were going to confiscate the phones with force.
“When they walked into the room, it sort of felt like I was getting ready to go on patrol in Afghanistan,” Andersen told Task & Purpose. “I just had this deep-seated feeling of: Well something is about to happen here and it’s not going to be good.”
When Anderson asked the officers for a warrant, they responded by surrounding him. Body camera footage from officers Vito DelCore and Todd Eckert shows what happens next.
DelCore attempts to steal Anderson's phone out of his pocket causing Anderson to pull away.
DelCore then threatend Anderson, saying, “You’re going to hit the ground hard.”
Remember, no crime had been committed and there was no reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed. The officers were in the wrong the entire time.
“Just give us the phone and we’ll be done,” Eckert told Andersen.
"No," said Anderson, "you don't have a right to take my phone."
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At this point the tasers come out and Anderson takes notice.
“You’re going to tase me because I’m not going to give you my wife’s cell phone?” Anderson asked.
Moments later, the officers answered that question with their tasers.
Anderson was tasered in the back, tackled to the ground and then tasered again as the officers piled on top of him. He had committed no crime.
“You guys are out of control,” Andersen’s father said.
Anderson was then falsely arrested and interrogated. He was not charged with any crime.
Anderson explained that he and his wife had nothing to hide but the way the police approached the situation made them standoffish.
“If he had come in and introduced himself and said: ‘I’m a Teller County detective; I need to check your phones; we want to make sure there is no evidence of child abuse;’ that’s a whole different story when you treat someone with respect,” Andersen said, adding that none of that happened. “And that man did not treat anybody, including my fiancé, with respect.”
Anderson told Task and Purpose that he has high respect for law enforcement but feels that the officers who wronged him need to be held accountable.
“I do not hate police,” Andersen said. “I do not hate law enforcement. I have the utmost respect for local police and police across the nation. My point in what I’m doing in my lawsuit is that – even though you are a police officer, you still need to be held accountable for your actions.”
“What the police in my particular story – in my case – did was wrong, and they need to be held accountable,” he continued. “The point I’m trying to make is that if more officers were held accountable for their actions by other police – good police who are out there – we might be having a little less strife in our nation at the moment.”
Unfortunately, however, the officers were never held accountable and it will be the taxpayers who foot the bill instead.
“These cops were not only never prosecuted; they were never fired; they were never disciplined in any way,” said Anderson’s attorney David Lane. “That’s because when the police investigate the police it always works out very well for the police.”