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15 Denver officers, plus Chief Pazen targeted in new police brutality lawsuit

Denver, CO – 15 Denver police officers and Police Chief Paul Pazen will face a new lawsuit for use of excessive force during a protest concerning a homeless encampment sweep in 2020

According to the Denver Post, the lawsuit aims to leverage Colorado lawmakers’ decision in 2020 to end qualified immunity for constitutional violations by police officers. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that allows law enforcement agents to defend against allegations of police brutality.

The trial will focus on the treatment protester Michael Jacobs was subjected to on the night of July 29, 2020. In the lawsuit, Mr. Jacobs’ lawyers claim that their client was tackled by a group of police officers, punched, and hit in the genitals with a baton. 

The protest erupted after the local authorities decided to clear up a homeless camp in Civic Center. 

Mr.Jacobs was standing by a chain-link fence that had been erected around Lincoln Park and rattling the fence when three Denver police vehicles approached him. Two of the trucks had officers in riot gear hanging from the sides. Footage of the incident shows that the officers did not issue any verbal commands to the plaintiff. They just pulled him to the ground and started beating him. 

The lawsuit alleges that one officer, Eric Leon, punched Jacobs in the head multiple times, while another officer, Greg Dulayev, used a baton to ram him in the genitals repeatedly. During the whole ordeal, several other officers were busy holding him to the ground.

After that, Mr. Jacobs was handcuffed and dragged toward a police van. When he asked why he was being arrested, an officer informed him he was accused of trespassing. The video, however, shows this is not true as Jacobs was on the sidewalk at the moment he was attacked by the police. 

Denver PD denies allegations of police brutality

The police have a different version of the incident. They claim they had probable cause to intervene as Jacobs was “actively trying to break down the fence and had pushed the fence into the park and was inside the boundaries of the park.” The officers say they had received a report over the radio, which said that Jacobs was “up against the fence” and had been “running his mouth” earlier at the Colorado State Patrol troopers inside the fencing.

The lawsuit states that Mr. Jacobs suffered a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder and required surgery for his injury. Due to his injury, he had to take a leave of absence from work and postponed two school semesters. Over the past two years he’s been struggling with emotional trauma, his attorneys say. 

Originally, only the 15 officers involved in the violent incident had been named in the lawsuit, while the Chief of Police, Paul Pazen was added in a filing last month. Pazen is accused of failing to train the officers under his command and also failing to discipline them over similar incidents in the past. 

The amount of damages Mr. Jacobs is seeking has not been disclosed. To file a civil rights lawsuit of this type you need to talk to an experienced Denver police brutality lawyer, who can gather the needed evidence to support your claim. Typically, the plaintiff can ask to be compensated for his economic damages, like medical expenses and lost wages, plus non-economic damages for his humiliation, as well as his pain and suffering. 

If you were recently a victim of any type of police misconduct in Denver, you should contact an experienced civil rights lawyer at the Bryan&Terrill law firm to see how to proceed with your case.

Contact info:

Bryan & Terrill

333 W. Hampden Ave., #420B

Englewood, CO 80110

(720) 923-2333