WARNING: Some images contain blood and graphic injury, reader discretion is advised.
(COLORADO SPRINGS) – A federal lawsuit is now being filed against officers in the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), after the alleged beating of a black man during a traffic stop in October 2022.
“Until they are suspended, I will not feel safe in Colorado Springs,” said 29-year-old veteran Dalvin Gadson.
On Wednesday, Gadson spoke to the public for the first time since the night of Oct. 9, when officers repeatedly punched and kicked him.
Body camera footage from that night shows officers punching Gadson in the head and back nearly thirty times. Pictures of Gadson after the incident show him physically deformed when he arrived at the hospital. Among multiple injuries, he sustained a black eye, several contusions (severe bruising) to his back, and a closed brain injury.
Against the backdrop of CSPD’s headquarters, over 30 protestors gathered in support of Gadson. The crowd held up signs reading, ‘End police brutality NOW’ and ‘Innocent citizen’s & veteran’s blood is on CSPD’s hands,’ with chants of “We got your back!” echoing through the crowd as Gadson arrived.
Gadson was positioned behind his legal team when they announced a federal lawsuit against the three officers who had punched and kicked him that night.
“We do a lot of these cases and a lot of times our client is not standing here beside us. So it’s a blessing that Mr. Gadson is here today,” said Harry Daniels, the national civil rights attorney representing Gadson.
Still shaken up from the incident, Gadson said he can’t even look at a picture of the officer’s faces, one of whom was captured smiling in a photo, moments after the incident.
“I’m scared of that man. I’m scared of all these police officers at this moment because I feel like they all are in cooperation with those three who hurt me,” said Gadson.
The lawsuit accuses officers Colby Hickman, Matthew Anderson, and Christopher Hummel of “deliberately, knowingly, intentionally, and violently” beating Gadson without any verbal warning. According to the CSPD use of force policy, officers are required to give a clear verbal warning of their intent to use force.
“Y’all all seen the video, they didn’t say a damn thing before they decided to beat Mr. Gadson,” said Daniels. “Justice is not about filing a lawsuit, justice is about removing bad apples.”
This incident is one of several race-related allegations involving CSPD in recent months. In February 2022, a lawsuit was settled for three other CSPD officers who were being sued for using excessive force against a teenage girl during a Black Lives Matter protest. The City of Colorado Springs was ordered to pay $175,000 in that settlement.
“I don’t think this lawsuit, and everything else is about a few bad apples. I actually think Colorado Springs has a bad orchard,” said Bakari Sellers, another national civil rights attorney representing Gadson.
Among other training efforts, $147,000 was spent on a new simulator that was implemented at the CSPD Academy in August 2021 to teach de-escalation techniques. But some protestors say training might not be the answer.
“We are tired of hearing about more training that needs to be done… Nothing’s changed,” said one of the protestors at Wednesday’s announcement.
CSPD declined to comment on the announcement of the lawsuit, but referred to a statement made on December 13th where they said in part “An administrative review of the officer’s use of force… was found to be within policy.”