IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — A deaf man who spent four months in jail after police used a Taser against him during a traffic stop has filed a federal lawsuit over the incident.
Brady Mistic’s lawsuit alleges “the shocking use of unnecessary police force and wrongful incarceration of a deaf man whom the Defendant officers rashly attacked after failing to recognize his disability and misinterpreting his non-threatening attempts to see and communicate as challenges to police authority.”
Mistic names two police officers, the city of Idaho Springs and the Board of County Commissioners of Clear Creek County as defendants.
What the body cam video shows
The incident happened on Sept. 17, 2019, when Officers Nicholas Hanning and Ellie Summers followed Mystic’s car into a laundromat parking lot after claiming Mistic ran a stop sign.
Body camera video obtained by the Problem Solvers shows Hanning tackling Mistic to the ground within seconds of exiting his patrol car after yelling, “Excuse me, who do you think you are?”
The officers would later contend that Mistic jumped out of his car and ran towards them, although body cam video reviewed by the Problem Solvers appears to show Mistic standing outside the officer’s patrol car moments before he was tackled to the ground.
Mistic told FOX31 he was confused at the time and had no idea why officers were shining a bright light in his face and merely walked over to see if officers had an issue with him or someone else.
“I was confused, I didn’t realize they were coming up to me, I didn’t know what it was for,” said Mistic, before adding, “They didn’t give me an opportunity to explain I was deaf.”
On the body cam video, Summers, the other officer in the incident, can be heard yelling, “Put your arms behind your back right now or I’m going to tase you!” and Hanning can be heard yelling “Tase him!”
Eventually, officers would charge Mistic with assault, obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest.
‘They didn’t see me as a citizen’
Mistic’s lawsuit states he would then spend four months in jail where he “was repeatedly denied an interpreter or other reasonable means of communication.”
“My grandmother had cancer. She died while I was in jail. I was traumatized by that. It really hurt my feelings that I wasn’t able to be there. I cried a lot. I wanted to get out of jail to be able to go to the funeral to have seen my grandmother. The judge wouldn’t allow me,” Mistic said.
Eventually, the charges were dismissed when Mistic agreed to enter a diversion program.
“It crosses the line between being merely ignorant and not knowing about a disability to being cruel and inhumane when you find out somebody’s deaf and they couldn’t possibly hear you and then charge them with assaulting a police officer,” said his attorney, Raymond Bryant.
“I was not a value to them, they didn’t see me as a citizen,“ Mistic said.
Officers were involved in another high-profile Taser incident
The two officers, Hanning and Summers, were the same two officers involved in the tasing of 75-year Michael Clark in May.
Hanning was fired in mid-July, just days after he was charged with assaulting Clark.
Idaho Springs Police Chief Nathan Buseck released the following statement to the Problem Solvers:
“On 09/17/2019 (2 years ago) officers from the Idaho Springs Police Department performed a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 1300 block of Idaho Street for a stop sign violation at approximately 1937 hours.
“The driver, Brady Mistic, immediately got out of his vehicle and quickly approached a clearly marked patrol car with the emergency lights activated.
“The officers gave verbal commands for Mr. Mistic to get back in his vehicle.
“It was later determined Mr. Mistic was deaf, but this fact was not known to the officers during the initial encounter.
“Officers then directed Mr. Mistic to sit down. At one point officers attempted to gain control of Mr. Mistic by placing him into handcuffs due to his unexplained actions.
“Mr. Mistic resisted the officers, and a physical altercation took place. One of the ISPD officers was injured (broken leg) due to the resistive actions of Mr. Mistic.
“Mr. Mistic was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. A short time later, he was cleared for detention and transported to the Clear Creek County Detention Facility where the officers charged him with Assault on a First Responder, Obstructing a Peace Officer, and Resisting Arrest. The officer who suffered a serious leg break was former ISPD Officer Nicholas Hanning and the other officer was Officer Ellie Summers, who was in training at the time of the incident.
“The incident was reviewed by former Chief Christian Malanka and the officers’ actions were deemed to be appropriate.
“The District Attorney’s Office for the 5th Judicial District ultimately allowed Mr. Mistic to participate in a Diversion Program in lieu of formal charges being filed.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Mistic get back on his feet.