COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- The city of Colorado Springs and one of its police officers are now defendants in a new lawsuit.
The suit was filed Tuesday by Michael Sexton and his attorney Andy McNulty. They claim in June 2019 an officer violated Sexton's first amendment rights in a clear act of retaliation for flipping off the officer minutes before but the officer says he detained Sexton because he was jaywalking.
"The officer responded by running up on him arresting him, roughing him up," McNulty told us in a Skype interview, "It shows just how short-fused that officer was."
In the body camera footage worn by the defendant officer Matthew Anderson the night of the incident, you can hear Anderson ask Sexton about the gesture. By the end of the nearly 15-minute video, Sexton can be seen walking away but with a citation.
"It's pretty clear that the officer was just using jaywalking as a pretext to harass Mr. Sexton and to rough him up," McNulty says.
While CSPD has faced similar lawsuits before, other attorneys we spoke with say they don't think there is a case here. They tell us Sexton's first amendment rights weren't violated at all because he was released and not cited for the gesture.
KRDO reached out to both the City and CSPD for comment but officials tell us they can not comment on pending litigation.