DENVER -- Denver Broncos’ season ticket holder Michael Cornell had just watched a 30-24 comeback overtime victory of his team against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots when Denver police took issue with his tipsy behavior.
Although the officers didn’t charge either him or his girlfriend, Lauren Rodriguez, with a crime, they detained them and hauled them over to the Denver C.A.R.E.S. detox center.
Now the couple is suing police and health care workers including police Chief Robert White and Dr. Bill Burman, chief executive officer of Denver Health Medical Center, claiming police and care workers colluded to violate their due process rights by detaining them illegally, the civil lawsuit filed Tuesday by Denver attorney Elisabeth Owen says. Cornell also accuses police of excessive force by allegedly bashing his head against a squad car.
Denver police and Denver C.A.R.E.S. staff “detained Mr. Cornell and Ms. Rodriguez as part of their policy and custom of unlawfully committing intoxicated individuals who do not pose a threat to themselves or others to the Denver C.A.R.E.S. facility,” the lawsuit says.
Cornell and Rodriguez are seeking “nominal” compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys fees against the police department and Denver C.A.R.E.S. They also want a judicial order prohibiting defendants from arresting them without adequate due process protections.
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