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Colorado Springs City Council approves six-figure settlement tied to police protestor’s lawsuit

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A Black Lives Matter protestor is set to receive more than six figures from a newly approved lawsuit settlement with the City of Colorado Springs.

During a meeting Tuesday, the Colorado Springs City Council voted 7-2 to approve a settlement of at least $100,000 with protester Tara Hadam.

On June 2, 2020, Hadam was arrested by CSPD during the heights of protests in Downtown Colorado Springs following the death of George Floyd. He had died after a Minneapolis Police Officer kneeled on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

Hadam filed a federal lawsuit suing five Colorado Springs Police Department officers and the city of Colorado Springs earlier this year.

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

While Hadam was not named during the city council discussion during the meeting, a memo regarding an executive session discussion on Monday was titled "Hadam Memo."

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.

The two "no" votes for the most recent settlement were by council members Bill Murray and Yolanda Avila.

Councilman Murray said he voted no on the settlement because he questioned the "good order and discipline" of the CSPD officer that night. He said he values the trust the public has in the police force and worries that a settlement stands in the face of that.

"To earn your trust, I have to hold people accountable. This is about protection of the public trust," Murray said.

Murray argued that this settlement is not a question of money or protection of the police. He stated the monetary settlement will be void of consequence.

"I need consequence. I endow the police force will certain special rights. They are not to be violated in any way or form," Murray said. "If I sit in front of you and let it happen, or pay more to let it slide, I have not done you a service."

The exact dollar amount of the settlement was not released during Tuesday's City Council meeting. Hadam's attorney Adam Frank tells 13 Investigates he cannot comment on the settlement until it is finalized in a few weeks.

The Colorado Springs Police Department provided 13 Investigates with the following statement regarding the settlement:

The department does not comment on decisions which are made by the City Council. If you need information about their decision, please contact the City Council for that. The Colorado Police Department will evaluate any decisions made which may impact the police department operations, and adjust in policy, training or practice on a case-by-case basis.

Colorado Springs Police Department

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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