COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Multiple civil rights attorneys representing a Black veteran are calling for a criminal investigation after he ended up in the hospital after an interaction with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
According to attorneys, 29-year-old Dalvin Gadson was stopped by officers during a traffic stop on Oct. 9. Gadson, who was homeless at the time, was reportedly pulled over for not having license plates on the back of his sedan.
According to court documents obtained by 13 Investigates, officers also said Gadson was driving his car at 15 mph in a 45 mph.
Once pulled over, the officers stated they observed Gadson exhibiting "slurred speech." One officer stated they "observed a knife" in the center console area of his car, according to court documents.
The officers approached the vehicle and commanded Gadson to step out of the car to be "detained" for driving under the influence. According to arresting documents, the officers also noted the smell of marijuana coming from Gadson's vehicle.
Gadson told officers that he would not get out of his car. Instead, he opened the door and remained sitting in the car with his legs out of the car while smoking a cigarette.
After 30 seconds of a verbal exchange between the officers and Gadson, body-worn camera footage shows officers attempting to remove him from the car with force.
Below is a look at the body camera footage obtained by 13 Investigates. Warning, the video might be upsetting for some viewers.
In the video, two officers are seen punching and kicking Gadson while he was refusing the exit the car. According to arresting documents, an officer claimed Gadson "kicked Officer Hummel in the chest area several times, while becoming more aggressive."
Gadson was arrested on two felony charges of 2nd-degree assault on a police officer and multiple misdemeanor charges including resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer, and driving under the influence.
On November 30, the two felony charges were dismissed by the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office. As of now, Gadson is still facing criminal prosecution for the three misdemeanor charges.
"The officers from Colorado Springs Police Department, they forcibly removed him from the car by using closed fist strikes and to his face body," civil rights attorney Harry Daniels told 13 Investigates. "When he was on the ground, he was kicked in the face, punched in the face multiple times. He was severely bruised, with blood coming from his nose, mouth, and ear."
After the incident, Gadson was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries. Daniel provided photos to 13 Investigates that show the extent of his client's injuries.
Warning: The following images are graphic and might be upsetting for some.
Daniels argues that the "use of force" exhibited by the CSPD officers was completely unwarranted.
"You have so many different mechanisms that you can use one, you can use a taser. Those non-lethal ways can be used in those particular instances, but they choose to they chose to beat the hell out of Gadson," Daniels said.
The civil rights attorney is calling for an independent investigation against the actions of the three CSPD officers. He requests that Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser's Office review the case or the El Paso County District Attorney's Office takes a look at the body cam videos and official statements.
If either office declines to open an investigation, Daniels told 13 Investigates he will petition the Department of Justice to review the case at the federal level.
Tuesday afternoon, the Colorado Springs Police Department released a lengthy response to the questions surrounding Gadson's arrest.
The statement begins by saying:
“It is imperative that we look at all the facts when evaluating officer interactions with citizens. We will respect the on-going court process but welcome dialogue with our community when we are free to talk about this case further” stated Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez.
We value our relationship with our community and when possible, we want to have conversations about use of force involving community members. These conversations must take an honest look at the facts of the case, including an honest look at the actions of all involved. This includes officers and suspects. There is still an active criminal court case against Dalvin Demitrius Gadson Ochoa for driving under the influence, resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer, and the required display of license plates.Colorado Springs Police Department
The full statement is available below.
According to the CSPD, the traffic stop happened near S. Academy Blvd. and Airport Rd. CSPD confirmed that Gadson was pulled over for driving below the speed limit. While approaching his vehicle, police saw he had no visible plates.
CSPD states an officer did see a knife in the cup holder.
When an officer asked Gadson to get out of the vehicle to conduct a driving under the influence investigation, CSPD said Gadson refused. While officers tried pulling him from the vehicle, CSPD said Gadson "physically fought with officers and on more than one instance re-entered the vehicle in the area of the knife."
According to the department, on Oct. 14, Internal Affairs received an online complaint regarding the arrest. As of now, CSPD states the investigation is still open.
Additionally, CSPD said an administrative review of the officer's use of force was also conducted by the chain of command and was found to be within policy. The department said this review was standard practice.
According to the department, the case reports will not be released due to the criminal case against Gadson. Police did however release the probable cause affidavit. That can be read here.
Read the full response released by the CSPD below: