DENVER — Another lawsuit claiming excessive force was filed against the City and County of Denver and an officer with the Denver Police Department. The lawsuit stems from an incident in July 2014 that was captured on a HALO camera.
Brandon Schreiber is seen on the video. It shows him being pushed down a flight of stairs outside a Lower Downtown bar. Denver police Officer Choice Johnson was in the video and is seen shoving Schreiber.
Schreiber accused Johnson of using inappropriate force. Johnson was suspended for 30 days in March 2015 by the Denver deputy director of safety. Four months, a hearing officer overturned the suspension.
The city has since appealed the decision to the full civil service commission, asking that Johnson’s 30-day suspension be allowed to stand.
The reversal was enough to prompt Schreiber and his team of attorneys to take action.
“Officer Johnson is facing no discipline in this case. The 30-day suspension was overturned and that basically turns into a 30-day paid vacation for a brutal assault on an innocent citizen,” said Schreiber’s attorney, Arash Jahanian.
“I want to make sure that the right thing happens and that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Schreiber said.
The video is the reason Schreiber said he was able to share his side of the confrontation.
“Just knowing historically how he’s handled other situations and these people who have never had a voice against him,” Schreiber said.
According to the lawsuit, since 2004, Johnson has had 18 excessive force complaints filed against him before Schreiber’s case. Johnson was never disciplined until the Schreiber incident. Schreiber believes that’s because it was captured by a camera.
“It’s hard when it’s the police officer’s word against yours. That’s really all I had,” Schreiber said.
Schreiber and his lawyers filed the lawsuit in hopes of getting justice and sending a message about accountability.
“Brandon’s intent in filling this suit is to provide accountability that Denver has failed to do and essentially refused to provide for officers using excessive force,” Jahanian said.
The hearing for the appeal to the hearing officer’s decision is expected in March.
A spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation.