Denver must pay $2.4 million to man police officer shot in back

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The City of Denver has been ordered to pay $2.4 million to a man shot by a police officer after a dramatic chase.

The chase happened in 2013, and it ended in what was then known as Columbus Park (now La Raza Park), where a red pick-up truck slammed into a tree.

A federal jury just awarded the money to one of the men in the truck, Michael Valdez, who was shot in the back and finger.

In another twist, the officer who shot Valdez — and who himself was shot during the chase — has been ordered to pay the man as well.

What happened in 2013

Two years after the chase and shooting, Valdez sued the city and the officer, saying police weren’t trained properly and that they used excessive force on him.

Valdez says he had no idea police were on the hunt for the driver of the truck that day.

At some point during the chase, police say someone in the truck started shooting at officers.

Then the truck crashed. Valdez says he got out with his hands up, laid down and moved his arms to his head, but then the shooting started.

Valdez was shot in the back and in the finger and says he had to have his finger amputated. He also had injuries to his bowels and had fractures in his back.

The officer who shot Valdez in the back is Sgt. Robert Motyka, who was shot in the shoulder but kept pursuing the truck and shooter.

Denver police Sgt. Bob Motyka was shot in the shoulder during chase in NW Denver. Photo: Denver CopWatch.

Sergeant ordered to pay, too

Denver police recognized the sergeant and the others involved in the chase and shooting during an award week, saying the suspects fired at teenagers at one point.

The federal jury ordered sergeant Motyka to pay Valdez $131,000.

The city and police department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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