GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) — A Greeley Police officer was formally charged by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office on Monday after fellow officers reported him for excessive force.
In a press release, the Greeley Police Department said Officer Ken Amick responded to a report of a man threatening to burn down City Center North on June 7. The suspect making threats was identified as 36-year-old Matthew Wilson, who had a warrant out for his arrest.
“The Greeley Police Department is a frequent flyer on my law firms radar. Not as frequent as the Aurora Police Department but they are up there,” David Lane, a Civil Rights Lawyer in Colorado said. Police say Amick found Wilson in the lobby of city hall across the street from City Center North and placed him in handcuffs. Wilson became agitated and complained about his wrists hurting, according to police. Police say Amick then placed Wilson in a chokehold, and another officer had to intervene.
Police said Amick found Wilson in the lobby of city hall across the street from City Center North and placed him in handcuffs. Wilson became agitated and complained about his wrists hurting, according to police. Police say Amick then placed Wilson in a chokehold, and another officer had to intervene.
Lane stated a new law that went into place in June of 2020 could have been the push that led fellow officers to report Amick to supervisors.
“The handwriting was on the wall. They probably thought it was the right thing to report the brutal cop, the law requires them to report him and they were looking at charges if they didn’t report him,” Lane said.
Colorado law enforcement are banned from using chokeholds after Governor Polis signed the Law Enforcement Integrity Act into law in June of 2020.
“They (reporting officers) could be charged with a first-class misdemeanor and could have to spend up to 18 months in the county jail if they don’t report it,” George Brauchler, the former District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District said.
The new law requires all local and Colorado State Patrol officers who have contact with the public to be equipped with body cameras by July 1, 2023. Unedited footage from body cameras must be released to the public within 21 days of the filing of misconduct complaints.
“I’m sure the guy who was in a chokehold has a criminal defense attorney and they will request the body cam. The defense attorney will see they put him in a chokehold and that’s illegal and these other two are just standing around watching,” Lane said.
Brauchler said he’s worried Senate Bill 217 will make officers hesitate when it comes to responding to dangerous situations.
“I feel like in my 26 years police have almost done the right thing when another officer stepped out of line but now there is criminal liability for it,” Brauchler said.
When police brought a handcuffed Wilson outside of city hall, he grabbed officer Amick’s hand. According to the press release, Amick delivered knee strikes to Wilson’s leg. Wilson later requested a supervisor to be present, and complained of excessive force, according to police.
Two Greeley Police officers contacted police supervision and said they believed Amick used excessive force during Wilson’s arrest. A criminal investigation began, and Amick was removed from patrol duty.
Investigators presented recommended charges of second degree assault to the Weld County District Attorney’s office, saying there is probable cause. The DA’s office formally charged Amick on Monday in Weld District Court. His court date is set for August 23 at 9:00 a.m.
Amick is currently on unpaid administrative leave. He has been a member of the department since 2006.