COLORADO SPRINGS – A father is suing the City of Colorado Springs, Teller County, and several law enforcement officers after he was tazed in the pediatric intensive care unit at Memorial Hospital.
According to the civil complaint, C.J. Andersen was in the hospital with his wife** and 19-month-old daughter after the young girl was hit by her mother’s car while the mother was backing out of the driveway on April 17, 2019.
The toddler was taken to a UCHealth Pikes Peak before being flown to Memorial Hospital.
It was at Memorial Hospital where, according to the civil complaint, detective Anthony Matarazzo from the Teller County Sheriff’s Office and officers Vito Delcore, Todd Eckert, and Carlos Sandoval from the Colorado Springs Police Department began asking Andersen for his wife’s phone.
The officers were claiming that the phone contained evidence of child abuse. Andersen, according to the complaint, refused to hand over the phone because he believed the officers did not have probable cause to search it.
“They had no legal right to anybody’s cell phone; he had every right in the world to tell them to leave, they had no probable cause to arrest him for anything much less tase him,” Andersen’s Attorney David Lane said. “It is grossly excessive force when no force should have been authorized because he hadn’t done anything wrong.”
As the situation escalated, Andersen’s attorney David Lane says Delcore went behind him, and moments later, Delcore and Eckert began grabbing Andersen’s wrists.
This is when, according to the complaint, Delcore shot Andersen in the back with his Taser. When Andersen fell to the ground, his father told officers, “this is not right,” and Delcore then threatened him with the Taser.
The civil complaint says that while Andersen was on the ground with three officers on top of him, Delcore fired his Taser again, hitting Andersen in the leg.
“They have no right in taking property from anyone without a warrant, and they have no right to brutalize someone who is not doing what they tell them that they should be doing,” Lane added. “People sometimes take the position that if you just do what the police tell you to do then you won’t get tazed, right? That is what a police state is all about, but the police are not the authority the Constitution of the United States rules not whatever the Colorado Springs Police Department says but that’s not true in Colorado Springs.”
Officers then seized the cell phones of Andersen and his wife and, according to the complaint, arrested Andersen on charges of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. Those charges were dropped in the fall of 2019.
“He wants accountability from the officers, he wants an apology from Colorado Springs, he wants discipline for the officers, he wants training for the rest of the Colorado Springs Police Department and if a jury decides that he should get some money that’s fine too,” Lane said.
According to Lane, There were never charges of child abuse filed either.
“No one ever said that they abused their child,” Lane explained. “It is a mystery to us why they wanted the phone, but they did.”
FOX21 reached out to the City of Colorado Springs City Attorney’s Office, Teller County Sheriff’s Office, and Colorado Springs Police Department for a comment in regards to this case, and they all replied, “will not comment on pending litigation.”
FOX21 also learned that the Colorado Springs Police Department did not place any of the officers involved on administrative leave, and there was no complaint of misconduct that would initiate an investigation into the incident.
** In the body camera video and during FOX21 News interview with David Lane they referenced the mother of the daughter as wife but in the civil complaint she is referred to as fiancee.