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Denver will pay $500,000 after settling excessive force lawsuits against police officers, sheriff's deputies

Denver Police
Posted at 6:54 PM, Jun 11, 2024

DENVER — Denver City Council on Monday agreed to settle two excessive force lawsuits in the amounts of $100,000 and $400,000.

The agreements come roughly three years after both cases began.

On April 20, 2021, Lidya Ryans called 911 during a verbal argument with her husband.

Body camera video shows Ryans did not give Denver Police Department officers permission to come inside her home when they arrived and asked them to leave when they entered.

The video shows a struggle between the officers and Ryans before she was arrested and charged with assaulting the officers. Those charges were eventually dropped.

In September 2023, Ryans filed a lawsuit against the officers involved for wrongful arrest, excessive force, malicious prosecution, and unlawful entry. The Denver City Council agreed to settle the lawsuit for $100,000.

In a statement, a city spokesperson said the inappropriate force allegation was declined by Internal Affairs. The officer did receive informal counseling for the use of profanity, according to the spokesperson.

An investigation into the incident with Ms. Ryans was completed with oversight and input from the Office of the Independent Monitor. The inappropriate force allegation was declined by IA and no formal disciplinary action resulted, although Officer Bernal Blanco’s use of profanity was addressed through informal counseling.
Kelly Jacobs, City of Denver

The second incident occurred on April 25, 2021, when Denver police responded to a medical call and found Scott Peters in his car. Officers found a small back of what they believed to be cocaine.

The lawsuit Peters filed against the City and County of Denver claims he was injected with sedatives, taken to the hospital then transferred to the jail in downtown Denver. His lawsuit goes on to say, "When Mr. Peters failed to comply with orders he couldn’t comprehend, the Defendants ripped him out of his wheelchair and dragged him into a camera-less jail cell."

The complaint alleges Denver Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Rodriguez wrapped nunchucks "around Mr. Peters’ arm so hard that he snapped a bone in Mr. Peters’ arm and severed multiple arteries." Rodriguez was suspended for three days following the incident.

Peters filed the lawsuit in October 2023. The city council settled the lawsuit for $400,000.

The annual report released by the city's Citizen Oversight Board states Denver spent roughly $17 million dollars on police-related settlements in 2023.

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