Aurora, CO — An innocent man settled a lawsuit this week for $110,000 after cops were seen on video deploying a taser in his back as he stood there with his hands up.
The incident happened in February 2016, when the victim, Darsean Kelley, and his cousin were stopped by police. Officers were in the area responding to a weapons incident at a nearby apartment building and Kelley happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Police had no description of the suspect and decided to harass Kelley and his cousin.
Kelley was naturally upset that he'd been targeted by police for no reason, so he was verbally expressing it. He never once physically resisted, however.
As the incident begins, police tell the two men to put their hands in the air. Both of them comply. Then the officer yells for them to interlock their fingers on top of their heads. At this point, Kelley continues to ask why he is being detained.
The cops answer back by refusing to tell him why. Just as Kelley says, "I know my rights," the taser is deployed into his back and he falls to the ground. Naturally, after police assaulted him for no reason, Kelley was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct — for asking a question and being tasered in the back. After spending three days in jail, he was bonded out.
The ACLU picked up his case and convinced the city to drop the charges against him.
"The body camera footage was indispensable in securing justice for Darsean Kelley," John M. Krieger, a spokesman with the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, told Ars Technica. "Without irrefutable evidence of police misconduct captured on video, it would have been our client's word against multiple officers, and the truth about what happened to Darsean would almost certainly have never come to light."
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Predictably, the Aurora police department responded to the incident by exonerating all officers involved and wholeheartedly justifying the use of a taser in the back of an unarmed man with his hands up. In October, the department released its findings.
The IRB agreed unanimously with the findings of the Force Review Board that the use of force in this instance was reasonable, appropriate and within policy.
The IRB does not believe there is anything in this incident that warrants additional awareness, action or investigation.
Chief Metz has accepted the findings of the IRB and considers the matter closed at this time.
“The ACLU commends the City of Aurora for its willingness to come to the table in good faith to find a resolution that is fair to Mr. Kelley and beneficial for taxpayers of the city,” ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein said in a statement. “However, the decision of the Aurora City Attorney’s Office to fairly and promptly resolve this matter stands in stark contrast to the actions of the Aurora Police Department, which at every turn has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or need for policy change even in the face of public outrage and irrefutable video evidence of misconduct.”
However, the City Attorney does not agree with the ACLU and noted it. Aurora City Attorney Mike Hyman said in a statement that the city settled so it wouldn’t have to spend even more taxpayer money defending a lawsuit, reports Ars Technica.
"We disagree with the ACLU's characterization of the events in this case and their unwarranted attack against the Aurora Police Department," Hyman said Thursday. "This case was settled for the reason that many cases are settled—to avoid the cost of prolonged litigation. That cost would have far exceeded the value of the settlement."
In the Land of the Free, police can walk up to innocent people on the street, taser them in the back, charge them with a bogus crime, and this is called 'justice'.