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85-year-old man accused in cane attack released from jail

DENVER –The bond for an 85-year-old accused of assault with a deadly weapon for smacking a volunteer parking enforcement officer with a cane had his bond reduced late Friday afternoon and he was released from jail.

Earlier in the day members of the Colorado Progressive Coalition demanded an explanation from Denver’s mayor as to why The elderly man was arrested in the middle of the night two weeks after an altercation and asked to pay a $50,000 bond.

His family couldn’t afford the bond, and he remained in jail until Friday evening.

John Copeland was arrested this week for an incident in the parking lot of a Home Depot in which Copeland hit a volunteer deputized to work on parking enforcement in Denver with his cane.

“This is not a protest, it is an attempt to get more information and to make sure that Mr. Copeland’s case does not go unnoticed,” said Brother Jeff Fard, a longtime community leader and Director at Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center.

“It’s tragic that on the eve on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s letter from a Birmingham jail that an elderly 85 year old man is sitting in jail on $50,000 bond and charged with a felony based on a handicapped sticker.” said Brother Jeff Fard, a longtime community leader and Director at Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center.

Copeland charged with assault with a deadly weapon

Copeland told FOX31 Denver he was a passenger in a car that parked in a handicap spot at a Home Depot in Stapleton.

Copeland said the volunteer was dressed in civilian clothing and did not have any identification.

 

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Copeland, who admits to being both partially deaf and blind, said the officer took his placard.

“He said, ‘let me show you this card is expired,’ so I handed him the handicap sticker and he said ‘I’m going to confiscate it,’” Copeland said. “I said ‘You can’t take my stuff.’”

“I stuck him with my cane,” Copeland added.

The officer told FOX31 Denver “When I refused to return the placard, Copeland got angry.”

The officer said he has “stunned” Copeland responded the way he did adding “he could have killed me.”

Wednesday night three Denver police officers surprised Copeland and arrested him. He is now being held on a $50,000 bond on a charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Copeland’s family said they are worried about him because he does not have his medication.

Denver police said they enforce arrest warrants 24 hours a day and midnight arrests are not uncommon.

“This guy grabbed him. So that’s why he struck him with his cane, because he thought he was being attacked,” family member Larry Copeland said.

He said there was no need for police to roust his father out of bed in the middle of the night. “My father was in bed, in pain, sick, and they took him to jail.”