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Woman sues five Colorado Springs police officers and city; alleges excessive force during 2020 protest

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- A former Colorado Springs resident is suing the city, and five Colorado Springs Police officers for alleged excessive force and wrongful arrest during a June 2020 Black Lives Matter protest.

The protest was exactly two years ago Thursday, and the woman who filed the suit says she wants the city to pay, and those officers to stand trial.

In the lawsuit, it says that Tara Hadam was unjustifiably sprayed point-blank in the face with pepper spray, even though she posed no threat to officers.

The events, which were caught on camera by KRDO, took place on June 2, 2020, near the Colorado Springs Police Operations Center.

The suit claims officers sprayed her directly in the face repeatedly, with, "extremely painful noxious chemical sprays," that were strong enough to manage large crowds. It alleges officers specifically targeted her, even as she raised her arms in a show that she wasn't a threat. The suit, filed by attorney Adam Frank in Denver reads, "Video makes what happened undisputable: 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."

Hadam is suing CSPD officers Cristopher Pryor, Dale Peterson, Blake Evenson, David Brockman, and Sergeant Jason Reeser.

The lawsuit alleges Hadam never crossed any barriers and the actions of the officers were unwarranted.

"Ms. Hadam never crossed the barrier demarcating the area set out for protestors. Ms. Hadam stood in a public space, often with her hands held high in the air. Ms. Hadam’s body language and demeanor clearly communicated to the Defendant Officers and all others present that she was there to protest peacefully, express her grievances vocally, and protest within the parameters of lawful demonstration."

Hadam was arrested that night for resisting arrest and obstructing government operations, but neither of those charges is still on her criminal record.

In KRDO footage, Hadam can be seen throwing a mask in the direction of the officers before she was sprayed. The lawsuit attempts to explain that saying, "Ms. Hadam took her mask off to demonstrate to Defendant Pryor that she was not going to defend herself against the assault Defendant Pryor was plainly preparing. She threw her paper mask and asked Defendant Pryor if he was going to spray her."

Now, Hadam wants the city to pay up, suing for monetary damages, for "past and future pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses, physical and mental pain, humiliation, fear, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of liberty, privacy, and sense of security and individual dignity, and other non-pecuniary losses." The suit requests a jury trial.

KRDO reached out to the Colorado Springs Police Department for comment, but has not heard back.

Hadam's attorney said part of the reason his client waited two years to file this claim is because it has taken time for her to be acquitted on her charges from June 2.

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is the weekend evening anchor, and a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

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