GLENDALE, Colo. (KDVR) — A Colorado family is hoping a jury of Coloradans will help hold two Glendale police officers accountable after they shot their son 19 times during a welfare check.
FOX31 obtained footage from two angles capturing the shooting that killed John Pacheaco a day after his 36th birthday, Halloween night 2020. Police found him unresponsive, slumped over his wheel at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Alameda Avenue. Soon after he woke up, Pacheaco’s truck appears to lurch forward but then quickly reverses in a hail of gunfire.
Both officers were cleared of criminal conduct from the Denver district attorney back in May, but the family is now filing one of the first lawsuits in the state under the new enhance law enforcement integrity act.
“We are very confident that the people of Denver are going to see this as the Pacheaco family does, which is ultimately an egregious reckless act that resulted in the death of their son,” Pacheaco family attorney Matthew Haltzman said.
Pacheaco’s mother, Jamie Fowler admits her son had a drug problem. However, she told FOX31 back in November, that has nothing to do with Glendale Police shooting her son 19 times.
The lawsuit states that Colorado law outlaws deadly force against someone fleeing the police who does not pose an immediate risk of death or serious bodily injury to others.
Also, Colorado law requires officers to use nonviolent means before resorting to any force.
When the Denver district attorney issued her report back in May, it included statements from the officers who fired the gunshots.
One of the officers stated he was in fear of his coworkers lives and that he didn’t know if Pacheaco was going to hit or do something to escape.
In the lawsuit, it states Pacheaco was unarmed and launched back in the truck after one of the bullets lacerated his spinal cord and his foot came down on the gas pedal.
“One of our focuses in this case is that we feel like we are dealing with a broader police culture where the mentality is shoot first, ask questions later, and I think that’s so apparent with this case,” Haltzman said.
The family’s attorney filed the lawsuit Friday. They plan to serve the two officers in the next few days.
When asked for comment, the Glendale Police Department denied our request, saying it is past the time for them to comment on it.