COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — A military veteran who was twice tased by police in his daughter’s hospital room has filed a lawsuit against the Colorado Springs Police Department, Teller County, and the involved officers, alleging a pattern of police brutality.
“We filed the lawsuit because the law is extremely clear. In order to use force, the police have to believe they are in some sort of jeopardy, physically,” David Lane, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on C.J. Andersen’s behalf, said.
Body camera footage supplied by Lane shows officers confronted Andersen at the Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs last April, and one officer attempted to grab a cell phone out of Andersen’s pocket.
Andersen said the officers had wrongly accused him of child abuse, and they believed there was evidence that could support the allegations on the cell phone.
“This suspicion was groundless and would later be proven to be unfounded,” the lawsuit said. “While the Andersen’s (sic) were focused on treatment…officers were plotting their investigation.”
Lane said his client was never charged with child abuse.
Andersen’s daughter was in the hospital after being struck by the family car, Andersen said.
“My thought when he went to grab the cell phone is, ‘You don’t have a right to take my stuff. My personal property – or anybody’s personal property without due process.’ There’s a reason we have laws in this country. There’s a reason that we have to follow those laws, so don’t just try and take somebody’s personal property for no reason. There was no reason to be taking the cell phones,” he said.
Andersen said the conflict escalated when he refused to provide the cell phone and pushed the officer’s hand away. The officer pulled out his Taser. “I took a step forward to get away from the bed Charlotte was laying on because I knew what was about to happen. That’s when he shot me in the back, and…it felt like an intense shock running through you,” he said.
The civil complaint says that while Andersen was on the ground with three officers on top of him, Delcore fired his Taser again, hitting Andersen in the leg.
Officers then seized the cell phones of Andersen and his fiancee and, according to the complaint, arrested Andersen on charges of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest.
Those charges were dropped in the fall of 2019.
A spokesperson for Teller County had not yet read any of the court paperwork and declined to comment about the case.
The Colorado Springs Police Department also declined to speak about the current litigation.
Lane, who is known for similar, high-profile lawsuits against police departments around the state, said the incident involving Andersen is part of a pattern and practice of “brutal policing” at the Colorado Springs Police Department.
“Because they have badges and guns, they think they can do whatever they want,” he said.