DENVER (KDVR) — A community organizer and Denver mayoral candidate has filed a federal lawsuit against Denver Police alleging excessive force.
Terrance Roberts, 45, told the Problem Solvers that on July 19, 2020, he had organized a counter-protest against a rally that in favor of police and Donald Trump’s re-election campaign when an unidentified Denver Police officer walked up to him and sprayed him in the face with pepper spray.
“It hurt really bad. It did what it intended to do: stop rioters and stop people who are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing, but I was not doing anything that I was not supposed to be doing. I was just simply walking at the time I was sprayed,” Roberts said.
Civil rights attorney Mari Newman, who represents Roberts, told FOX31 that Roberts was intentionally targeted “because he’s a community leader.”
Attorney: Police did not address assaults on protesters
Video from the protest shows police wearing military-style clothing. Newman said the officers were not wearing badges so she has not been able to track down the officer’s body cam, let alone identify the officer who sprayed Roberts.
Bystander video shows a fellow protestor helping Roberts wash out his eyes with water after he had apparently been sprayed. Newman said it’s revealing as to who was sprayed and who was not.
“By all of the witness accounts, there were individuals who were there as part of the pro-police rally who actually assaulted some of the protesters, and yet the police did nothing to address that,” Newman said. “They didn’t take any of those people into custody. They of course used no force on those people.”
Roberts, a long-time community activist who announced in April that he’s running to be Denver’s next mayor, added, “I think that it shows in 2020 there were a particular group of people that were targeted and that was people who were protesting against police aggression.”
Denver Police released this statement in response to the lawsuit:
While it would be inappropriate to comment specifically on the lawsuit filed, the Denver Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau received a complaint regarding an alleged inappropriate use of force against Mr. Roberts. The IAB reviewed available video based upon the date, location and time provided. Mr. Roberts is not seen in the video when the officer deploys pepper spray.Denver Police Department