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DOJ will investigate claims of Colorado Springs police misconduct in beating of Black man

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Lindsey Toomer

(Colorado Newsline) A division of the U.S. Department of Justice will review law enforcement misconduct allegations stemming from an October 2022 incident in Colorado Springs, where white police officers beat a Black man during a traffic stop

The Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, which is the only part of the division that prosecutes criminal violations, will review claims against Colorado Springs police relating to the beating of Dalvin Gadson. Gadson’s attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the officers involved in the incident claiming they deliberately beat Gadson without warning. They said the officers should be investigated, arrested and prosecuted.

Gadson’s attorneys released an Oct. 3 letter to Jim Felte, chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, from Michael L. Alston, director of the DOJ’s Office of Civil Rights. The letter referred the complaint to Felte for “review and appropriate action.”

“One year later, (Colorado Springs Police) Chief (Adrian) Vasquez still refuses to hold his officers accountable after they beat and bloodied an unarmed man over a license tag infraction,” civil rights attorney Harry Daniels said in a statement. “Today we are confident that the Department of Justice will begin to correct that injustice and do what he won’t.”

Officers initially pulled Gadson over for not having a properly displayed license plate and later told him he was being detained on suspicion of DUI. After an officer told Gadson he would be “detained in handcuffs,” Gadson responded, “No, I’m not.” At that moment officers descended on him and started beating him as they pulled him out of the vehicle. A second officer after removing the passenger entered the car from the passenger side and continued hitting Gadson. 

The Colorado Springs Police Department declined to comment due to pending civil litigation related to Gadson’s case. The department published its internal review in July, recommending at most a 10-hour suspension for one of the officers involved. Others received a written reprimand and 10 hours of remedial scenario training to evaluate the effectiveness of use of force. 

The district attorney overseeing the case ultimately dropped all charges against Gadson after he entered a guilty plea for not having properly displayed license plates.

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