Denver pays $60,000 to victim of police abuse

Denver City Council approves payout for a 2014 incident.

A still from the video in the holding cell. (U.S. District Court)

A still from the video in the holding cell. (U.S. District Court)

staff photos

The Denver City Council approved a payout of $60,000 Monday to settle a claim of excessive force against two Denver police officers in 2014.

Officers James Medina and Cheryl Smith arrested Seryina Trujillo in July of that year after she interfered with attempts to take her friend to detox, according to court documents. Trujillo spit on Smith before the officers took her to a holding cell at a police facility.

That’s where a video camera caught Medina knocking Trujillo’s head against the wall and holding her down by the neck with his knee, causing Trujillo to pass out, the complaint against the officers states. Medina told Trujillo, “Don’t cry now” and “Tell it to God.”

Medina was ultimately fired from the force. The Denver Police Department and the Department of Safety found that Medina had used excessive force.

“The Seryina Trujillo case was settled to everyone’s satisfaction,” David Lane, Trujillo’s attorney, told Colorado Public Radio. “Denver is acknowledging wrongdoing so that’s always a good thing.”

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