COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- 13 Investigates obtained Colorado Springs police body-worn camera video capturing an unidentified individual singing “we will, we will gas you” prior to a highly contentious George Floyd protest in 2020.
“You got blood on your face, you big disgrace, kicking your a** all over the place. Singing we will, we will gas you,” the individual can be heard singing along to the tune of the recognizable 1977 song “We Will Rock You" by the band Queen.
Another individual appears to laugh at the altered lyrics, however, neither the singer nor the individual laughing are seen in the Colorado Springs Police body-worn camera video.
The body-worn camera video was recorded on June 2, 2020 prior to a protest outside the Colorado Springs Police Operations Center located on the 200 block of E. Rio Grande Street.
Colorado Springs Police tells 13 Investigates there was a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement presence when this video was recorded and it is unknown exactly who made these comments.
Four hours after the individual was recorded singing “we will gas you”, law enforcement officers, including Colorado Springs police, would use tear gas and pepper spray on protesters in an effort to disperse the crowd.
The Colorado Springs Police body-worn camera video was provided to 13 Investigates by a civil rights attorney representing a woman that recently filed a lawsuit against the City of Colorado Springs and four police officers.
BODY CAMERA VIDEO: #13Investigates obtained @CSPDPIO body worn camera video where an individual is recorded singing "we will we will gas you" hours before a heated Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Colorado Springs back in 2020. @KRDONC13 pic.twitter.com/ZC6IhLgktY— Dan Beedie KRDO (@BeedieonTV) October 10, 2022
Tara Hadam alleged that Colorado Springs police officers used excessive force and wrongfully arrested her during the protest on June 2, 2020 outside the Operations Center.
“At the protest, Ms. Hadam peacefully demonstrated against police violence,” an amended complaint filed in August stated. “Despite the peaceful nature of her protest, CSPD officers subjected Ms. Hadam to the very unlawful violence that she was protesting. Video makes what happened indisputable: Ms. Hadam stood with her hands held high in the air in front of a line of CSPD officers in full riot gear and protective shields; while she stood this way, (the defendant) repeatedly sprayed her directly in the face with extremely painful noxious chemical sprays.”
KRDO NewsChannel 13 was outside the Colorado Springs Police Operations Center the night of the protest, and obtained video of the incident between Ms. Hadam and Colorado Springs police.
Following the incident, Hadam was arrested and charged with obstructing a police officer and failing to disobey a public order. However, after a jury trial, Hadam was acquitted of her charges in September 2021.
On Sep. 28 of this year, Colorado Springs City Council members voted 7-2 to approve a six-figure settlement with Hadam.
Adam Frank, Hadam’s attorney who provided 13 Investigates with the Colorado Springs police body-worn camera video, says the settlement between his client and the city of Colorado Springs is worth approximately $140,000.
Frank says the Colorado Springs police body-worn camera video, recorded the same day as Hadam’s arrest, showing an individual singing about gassing protesters was obtained during the discovery phase of the his client’s civil case from the Colorado Springs City Attorney’s Office.
Hadam’s lawsuit alleges that “Colorado Springs leadership was adverse to the George Floyd protests, adverse to Black Lives Matter, and wanted to see these protests stamped out, even by unconstitutional means.”
The lawsuit goes onto claim that CSPD officers exclusively use violent force against Democratic, Black Lives Matter, or left-leaning protesters.
Frank says the “we will we will gas you” video adds credence to this claim.
“Colorado Springs tried to make the argument that this is a problem of a couple bad apples in an otherwise fine situation,” Frank told 13 Investigates. “What we learned is that there was a culture coming from the top on down that said stomp out these protests. Without that culture, an officer doesn’t feel comfortable singing that. The other officers around him don’t feel comfortable laughing at that. That's not something that happens unless the departmental culture dictates from the top on down saying these protests are a problem and our job is to stop it.”
In a statement to 13 Investigates, the Colorado Springs Police Department says the short, thirty-second clip does not properly represent their officers thought process when it comes to dispersing tear gas.
Here is CSPD's full statement:
CSPD is aware of the BWC recording and that it was shared with legal counsel through the civil discovery process. There was a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement presence when this video was recorded and it is unknown exactly who made the comments. We recognize the perception this video shows but note it does not accurately show the thought process and considerations made by CSPD staff before the dispersal of gas was authorized during the riots of 2020. As the content of this video has already been considered as part of civil litigation, CSPD is taking no additional action regarding the video.Lt. Pamela Castro, Colorado Springs Police Department
This isn't the first settlement between the city and a protestor. In February, city council settled another use of force lawsuit regarding Celia Palmer.
Palmer was a Black Lives Matter protestor on the same day Hadam was arrested.
That lawsuit alleges that CSPD Officer Keith Wrede "ambushed" Palmer, slammed her to the ground "for no reason," and arrested her "in a blatant attempt to cover up" excessive use of force against another BLM protester.
That settlement agreement said by March 1 the City of Colorado Springs has to include the following language in the CSPD policies:
- Dispersal warnings are mandatory, before utilizing less-lethal tools or force to disperse a crowd.
- Prior to using force, an officer shall identify himself or herself as a peace officer. The officer shall give a clear verbal warning of their intent to use force. If the warning is related to deadly force, the officer will specifically warn of the impending use of firearms or other deadly physical force, if possible. A warning must be given with sufficient time for the warning to be observed. The officer is not required to give this warning when doing so would unduly place officers at risk of injury and/or would create a risk of death or injury to other persons. When a warning cannot be given in a situation where force is used, the officer will document the reasons why in the case report.