Denver, CO — Following the death of George Floyd America and the rest of the world watched in horror as disturbing and violent acts of police brutality were carried out against peaceful protesters. While there were certainly despicable acts of looting and rioting taking place, many of the most egregious acts of police violence were documented against innocent people, including reporters and bystanders.
It would take months for any of the officers to be held accountable, if at all, and this lack of punishment seemingly enabled them to carry out more violence. The Denver police department was notoriously violent during these times as their victims were left maimed, disfigured and eyeless.
After facing no accountability for their actions, months after the Floyd protests died down, these same violent officers were empowered to continue their violent trend. Two of those cops were Eric Leon and Greg Dulayev, who are now the subject of a lawsuit filed by their victim, Michael Jacobs.
On July 29, 2020, Jacobs was part of a demonstration against a sweep of a homeless encampment near the State Capitol. Dozens of officers, apparently still riding their high from attacking protesters months earlier, took to the streets once more.
In the videos below, we can see what unchecked violence and brutality can lead to, and it's not pretty. On that day, Jacobs and others were protesting because cops were clearing out the encampment despite not giving the homeless folks notice.
As Westword reports, the officers did not violently engage the demonstrators originally but that dynamic changed around 10 p.m., when the suit says "DPD Gang Unit officers standing by received a dispatch call and three RDVs [rapid-deployment vehicles] containing approximately twenty officers deployed to the 1400 block of Broadway Street." An excerpt from dispatch audio documents an alert to the officers about an individual — Jacobs, presumably — who was "up against the fence, running his mouth at CSP." Shortly thereafter, one officer shouted, "Red backpack! Red backpack!" — and "no fewer than ten officers charged toward Mr. Jacobs."
"Everything is happening very fast in the videos," attorney Benjamin DeGolia of Denver-based Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC explained to Westword. "I think it’s helpful to slow the videos down to see exactly what is going on — in particular Officer Leon viciously punching Mr. Jacobs in the face and Officer Dulayev ramming Mr. Jacobs in the genital area/anus with his baton."
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According to the lawsuit: "While on top of Mr. Jacobs, Officer Leon punched Mr. Jacobs multiple times in the face, despite the fact Mr. Jacobs was unarmed and presented no threat to the officers. While the group of DPD officers piled on top of Mr. Jacobs, he braced himself and tried to shield his face from Officer Leon’s blows to Mr. Jacobs’s face and head. While Mr. Jacobs was lying on the ground, held down by at least five officers, Officer Dulayev repeatedly jabbed Mr. Jacobs with his thirty-six-inch baton, wielding it vertically and striking Mr. Jacobs in his genital area. The last of these strikes was a direct hit to Mr. Jacobs’s anus, which caused Mr. Jacobs to scream out in agony."
Jacobs can be heard screaming for help as video shows Dulayev sodomizing the restrained man who had committed no crime. At one point, he screams out that they are sodomizing him.
Now, the taxpayers of Denver will be held to account for the unchecked violence of their security force.
As stated above, the lack of accountability likely empowered these officers to act this way and DeGolia agrees, noting that the attack offers "a stark reminder that when police officers are not disciplined for their misconduct, they are empowered to engage in similar conduct again and again."
Below are the videos from that night. This one shows officer Leon repeatedly punching Jacobs in the face.
Here is a cellphone video from a bystander in which Dulayev can be seen ramming the baton into Jacobs' anus.