Federal suit filed in Denver pepper ball incident involving pregnant woman and police

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DENVER (KDVR) — A federal lawsuit has been filed in the case of Shaiitarrio Brown and his pregnant girlfriend, Brittany King, who were targeted with PepperBalls during last year’s George Floyd Protests in Denver.

The Problem Solvers found a federal complaint filed Monday, indicating the pair is suing the City and County of Denver as well as unidentified officers at the Denver Police Department.

The suit, which includes photographic evidence, alleges that Brown suffered lacerations and bruising and King suffered a broken right hand, chemical burns, bruises, and “repeated shots to her stomach.”

According to the federal complaint, King was “hospitalized twice for pregnancy complications, including severe cramping, elevated and then depressed fetal heart rate, chemical burns on her throat and lungs, and extreme dehydration from pain during eating and drinking due to the burns. In other words, the chemical burns hurt too much for her to swallow water.”

The suit said the child is now starting to show “pronounced developmental delays” including a delay in crawling at 9 months old.

The Problem Solvers interviewed Brown last year, not long after the protests.

“I want answers as to why you’re shooting at innocent people who are not protesting, and there’s a pregnant woman in the car,” he said.

Brown said he was driving in the area because he was trying to make a food delivery so he could have enough funds to afford a hotel room rather than sleeping in his car with his fiancée.

He said a police vehicle initially drove by and fired a PepperBall shot that was unprovoked.  When he tried to drive toward a commander to learn more about why someone fired at his vehicle, other officers started launching more PepperBalls at them.

“Those officers could’ve killed my child, and we want some repercussions of that, and we want change and reform in policies,” he said.

According to the federal complaint, the plaintiffs are citing multiple failures on the part of the Denver Police Department including “failure-to-train” issues that led to a violation of their fourth amendment rights.

The complaint suggests DPD’s use of PepperBalls during the George Floyd Protests was “extreme and uncontrolled.”

Brown and King also claim their first amendment rights were violated during the protests.

Denver Public Safety issued the following statement:

“The thorough, large-scale Internal Affairs investigation into this incident remains active and ongoing, and right now there is not an estimated timeframe for its completion,” said Doug Schepman, the interim director of communications for the Denver Police Department. “Any requests for records related to this case would be denied in the interest of protecting the integrity of the open investigation. Lastly, out of respect for the legal process, it would be inappropriate for the Department to comment on a pending lawsuit.”

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