For once, a victim of police brutality has seen some form of justice after being unlawfully stopped, detained, and tased by cops in Aurora, Colorado.
The city of Aurora must pay Darsean Kelley $110,000 to settle a claim made on his behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.
“Through constructive, respectful dialogue, the ACLU of Colorado and the city of Aurora, through the city attorney’s office, were able to work together to resolve this case promptly and without expensive and time-consuming litigation,” ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein said. “The ACLU commends the city of Aurora for its willingness to come to the table in good faith to find a resolution that is fair to Mr. Kelley and beneficial for taxpayers of the city.”
The incident that led to this outcome occurred in February 2016 when officers were responding to a potential crime at an apartment complex. With no suspect description, the cops stopped Kelley and his cousin, who were walking nearby, and refused to tell them why they were being stopped.
As Kelley complied with the officers demands — despite having no idea what he was being harassed for — he eventually pointed to his chest and told the cops, "I know my rights." At that moment, one of the officers released his stun gun into Kelley's back, reportedly causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the ground.
The officers arrested Kelley and charged him with disorderly conduct. He spent three days behind bars before being bailed out. ACLU lawyers defended him in court, claiming the officers violated Kelley's Fourth Amendment rights. The encounter was captured on police body cam footage and shared on social media by the ACLU back in September.
The department's Internal Affairs Bureau reviewed the video evidence and found that the force used against Kelley during the stop was "reasonable, appropriate and within policy,” and determined that no further investigation was necessary.
The ACLU used this incident to expose the Aurora Police Department's questionable practices.
“That the Aurora Police Department reviewed this incident and gave it a departmental stamp of approval shows the department is incapable of policing itself,” ACLU Staff Attorney Rebecca T. Wallace, who led the settlement negotiation for ACLU of Colorado, said. “If what happened to Darsean Kelley is business as usual for the Aurora Police Department—as their own review board found—then Aurora taxpayers can expect to continue to foot the bill while black and brown men suffer at the hands of police.”
This was clearly a case of racial-profiling that backfired big time for the city of Aurora and the police department. Kelley is certainly lucky to be one of the few men of color in recent times to survive a heated police encounter.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Jeffrey Beall