Idaho Springs officer accused of escaping serious punishment despite repeat gun offense

Problem Solvers

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — Idaho Springs Police Officer Ellie Summers still has her job, unlike the officer she was with during a May 30 incident that led to his termination.

Idaho Springs Police Chief Nate Buseck announced on Friday that Officer Nicholas Hanning was fired for tasing a 75-year-old man without warning.

Hanning faces felony assault of an at-risk adult after investigators say he tased Michael Clark without cause after entering his apartment during an assault investigation.

Summers was given a written reprimand for pointing her gun at Clark because investigators found she had no reason to pull out her weapon.

But Idaho Springs resident Christine Komatsu believed Summers should’ve faced more than a written reprimand considering what happened to her just 11 days before the Clark incident.

“It really scares me that my dog was almost shot and I felt like I was in danger too,” said Komatsu, before adding, “Honestly I feel like she should be off the police force. I don’t trust her. I wouldn’t want her to respond to anything at my house.”

Summers was responding to a barking dog complaint on the morning of May 19 when body cam shows her knocking on Komatsu’s door.

On the body cam, you can hear Komatsu say, “Can I let them (her dogs) out? They’re harmless.”

Summers responds, “Oh yeah, I don’t care.”

But moments later Summers points her gun at the dogs as they run around their fenced yard barking at her and, at one point she’s aiming her gun at a dog being held by Komatsu herself.

“I was worried that if she shot at him, I’m right there with my dog in my arms. I worried that I was potentially going to get shot,” said Komatsu.

Later in the body cam, Summers can be heard telling Komatsu, “I almost shot your dog.”

When Komatsu later complained to Summers’ supervisor to ask why Summers didn’t pull out her taser instead of her gun if she felt threatened by her dogs, she said the supervisor told her, “If she fired once she wouldn’t get a second chance if she missed with a Taser. And I said if she fired once and missed it could’ve been me that she hit.”

Komatsu said when it later came out that Summers was given a written reprimand for pointing her gun needlessly at Clark, she was stunned.

“It was sickening, it was shocking that it happened again so quickly so soon. Obviously she didn’t take anything to heart or have any problems doing it again on a person,” Komatsu said.

A few days after her interaction with Summers, Komatsu called Idaho Springs to file a complaint but said she felt pressured to let the department handle it informally.

“If I pursued anything formally it would look like I was out for revenge, and that bothered me that he (police supervisor) would say that,” remembered Komatsu.

Nonetheless, the 55-year-old resident of Idaho Springs assumed Summers received something in her personnel file documenting the incident.

Instead, Buseck told the Problem Solvers there was no internal affairs report to provide FOX31 because his department had only given Summers a verbal warning about the department’s gun muzzle policy.

“In my mind that’s an automatic this is on your record. That’s a gun, that’s not you left patrol car dirty or you filed your report wrong. That’s a weapon, that could’ve gone very wrong just based on her reaction. She wasn’t calm, cool and collected. She freaked out and she pulled her gun,” Komatsu said.

Summers would return with an animal control officer and write Komatsu a ticket for having an “aggressive dog” but Komatsu said a police supervisor would later tell her to rip up the ticket because the city had agreed to void it.

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