COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A civil rights attorney claims his client was severely beaten after a traffic stop in Colorado Springs and is now calling for a criminal investigation into the officers' actions.
Harry Daniels, based in Georgia, said his client, 29-year-old Dalvin Gadson, was left with eye injuries, a ruptured eardrum and PTSD after the encounter with officers on Oct. 9.
"The force they used against Dalvin is unconscionable," Daniels said. "I mean, they beat a man. You know, that was unwarranted. Closed hands. Fists. Kicked him in his face. I worked for law enforcement, and we are not trained to do that by any means — to kick a person in the face, to beat him the way he was beaten."
Gadson is a veteran experiencing homelessness who was living out of his car at the time of the the incident, Daniels explained.
On Monday, Daniels released a series of photos and body camera videos pertaining to the encounter. In many of them, Gadson can be seen visibly bloodied with injuries to his face.
The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) released astatement about Gadson's arrest on Tuesday afternoon.
"This traffic stop occurred on October 9, 2022 at 2:54 am near S. Academy Blvd. and Airport Rd. Mr. Gadson was driving a vehicle at approximately 15 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. The officer observed the vehicle had no visible license plates," the release said.
During the body camera video, shortly after Gadson's car is stopped, an officer states that an odor of cannabis is coming Gadson's vehicle. Officers on scene then decide to conduct a DUI investigation.
The officer who pulled Gadson over is heard telling another officer that there's a knife in the car's cupholder.
Daniels described the knife as a "pocketknife" to Denver7 and said his client never reached for it.
"People have weapons in their cars, they have guns in their cars all the time and that doesn't mean they're reaching them. Let me ask you this question: If the pocketknife was in the cupholder, why did they beat his ass while he was on the ground outside of the car? Think about that," Daniels said.
The body camera video shows two officers approaching Gadson's car to conduct the field sobriety test, asking Gadson to exit the vehicle.
"I'm going to ask you to not reach for anything," an officer said.
Gadson can be heard during the video, questioning officers' instructions.
"What are y'all pulling me out of the vehicle for?" Gadson said.
Within seconds, a struggle ensues, and officers positioned at the driver side and passenger side can be seen punching Gadson.
In CSPD's statement, the agency said, "When officers attempted to pull Mr. Gadson from the vehicle he physically fought with officers and on more than one instance re-entered the vehicle in the area of the knife."
A probable cause affidavitalso said Gadson kicked officers.
According to the body camera video, once Gadson is removed from the vehicle, the physical encounter continues.
“I’m not hitting y'all, my dog," Gadson said.
An officer can be seen slapping the 29-year-old in the head while fellow officers attempt to place handcuffs.
After the handcuffs are secured, additional backup arrives and an officer can be heard detailing what occurred in the moments prior.
"[inaudible] hit in the head quite a bit," the officer said, grinning.
Moments later, Gadson said, "My face is not OK. I know it’s not."
In an interview with Denver7, Daniels said his firm is requesting Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to investigate the circumstances.
"We are pushing — lobbying — for investigation into the arrest done by these officers. Make no mistake about it," Daniels said.
Misdemeanor charges against Gadson pertaining to the incident are still being prosecuted.
In addition, Gadson was previously charged with two counts of felony second-degree assault after the ordeal, but those charges were dismissed by the 4th Judicial District.
"They charged him (Gadson) with trumped up charges," Daniels said. "These false allegations were made against Mr. Gadson, and I'm thankful to DA who saw the video and dismissed those charges."
A hearing conducted with the Department of Revenue early this month allowed Gadson's driving privileges to remain intact.
"The suspicion of DUI is still pending in criminal court but the administrative hearing portion of his DUI in the DMV hearing was dismissed," Daniels told Denver7. "The judicial officer determined there was no probable cause to search him (Gadson) or suspect that he was under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado."
CSPD said a standard, administrative review of officers' use of force was found to be within policy. The department said a separate, internal affairs investigation is still open.
"Make no mistake about it, a crime was committed on Mr. Gadson," Daniels said.