Colorado Springs Police Refuse to Release Records on Brutal Beating of African American Man, Says ACLU
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLORADO SPRINGS — Seeking to block the release of records from an investigation into charges of serious police misconduct, the city of Colorado Springs has filed a lawsuit against the American Civil Liberties Union, announced the civil liberties group today.
The ACLU believes the public is entitled to know the results of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s internal investigation of the brutal beating of an African American man, and what discipline, if any, was imposed.
“People’s trust in the police is increased when the police department can show they have conducted a thorough investigation with integrity and held officers accountable,” said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado. “We live in a society that’s based on the premise that the public has the right to look at government documents to see how the government is conducting public business.”
The ACLU filed a routine request for public records in the case of 26-year-old Delvikio Faulkner. According to a police report, officers K.D. Hardy and Jackson Andrews stopped a vehicle, in which Faulkner was a passenger, for not having a front license plate. In the report, Andrews said that Hardy repeatedly used his metal flashlight to brutally beat Faulkner, including three blows to his head. Andrews said that Faulkner did not try to flee or fight the officers.
“This is not only a case about alleged police brutality and grossly excessive and unjustified force; it may also be an example of the most vicious kind of racial profiling,” Silverstein said.
The Colorado Springs Police Department initially responded to the ACLU request by saying that as a matter of policy it did not release Internal Affairs Bureau documents under the open records laws. In an effort to persuade officials to change their view, ACLU staff attorney Taylor Pendergrass supplied a copy of an order issued in an ACLU case by Denver District Court Judge Catherine Lemon in December.
Judge Lemon found that a similar policy of the Denver Police Department violated Colorado’s open records laws. Similar rulings in three cases in recent years held that the Denver Police Department must release Internal Affairs Bureau files to the ACLU under the open records laws.
Last January, Denver officials abandoned earlier intentions to appeal and instead announced that they would revise their disclosure policies to conform with Judge Lemon’s ruling.
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