Denver is paying another $500,000 over police and sheriff misconduct claims

One of the cases left the plaintiff with broken bones and “permanent disfigurement.”
3 min. read
Denver’s City and County Building seen from Civic Center Park. Sept. 14, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

In April of 2021, Scott Peters entered jail uninjured. According to his lawyer, Cameron Bedard, Peters later left jail with broken bones, severed arteries and “permanent disfigurement.”

Now, the city is paying Peters $400,000 to settle a misconduct claim with the Denver Sheriff’s Department. In a separate case, Denver is settling for $100,000 in a case involving the Denver Police Department. City Council approved both payments Monday.

The two cases are the latest in millions of dollars in settlements and jury trials the Denver Police and Sheriff’s Departments have paid out in the past few years over claims of misconduct.

Bedard said that his client landed in jail after a concerned citizen called in about Peters sleeping in his car.

Peters’ lawyer said that after police and paramedics responded to the scene, Peters was injected with a sedative, treated at Denver Health and then sent to the Denver Sheriff Department for booking on a low-level drug offense.

Bedard said that Peters was unable to stand or speak after treatment due to the sedative, and had to be transported to jail in a wheelchair.

“Deputies told Mr. Peters to get up and enter the jail cell. Mr. Peters did not comprehend these orders due to his altered mental state caused by involuntarily administered sedative injections,” Bedard told Denverite in an email. “When Mr. Peters didn’t respond deputies pulled him out of the wheelchair and dragged him into a cameraless jail cell where at least six deputies held him down on the floor belly down in a prone position while kneeling on the back of his legs, holding him down by his stomach and applying pressure to his body to keep him on the ground.”

Bedard said that when Peters gasped for breath, officers interpreted his behavior as resistance and used nunchucks on his client until Peters’ bones broke and his arteries severed. Peters then returned to Denver Health to treat his injuries.

“Today’s settlement compensates Mr. Peters’ for the barbarity he suffered in the Denver Downtown Detention Center,” Bedard said about the $400,000 settlement.

Denverite has reached out to the Denver Sheriff Department for comment.

In the second settlement, the city is paying $100,000 over claims of misconduct by the Denver Police Department.

In that case, also dating back to April of 2021, Denver Police Officers entered Lidya Ryans’ home after she called 911 over a verbal argument with her husband. According to Bedard, police punched Ryans, arrested her and charged her with assault of a police officer — a charge that was later dismissed.

Bedard, an attorney with Frank Law Office LLC, represents both clients with settlements Monday. He said Ryans was “treated like a criminal” after calling 911.

“This settlement won’t erase the nightmare she and her family lived,” Bedard said. “But it sends a message to DPD.”

The Denver Police Department said that Denver’s independent police watchdog looked into the case.

“An investigation into the incident with Ms. Ryans was completed with oversight and input from the Office of the Independent Monitor,” wrote Kelly Jacobs, a spokesperson with the Department of Public Safety, in a statement to Denverite. “The inappropriate force allegation was declined by IA and no formal disciplinary action resulted, although Officer Bernal Blanco’s use of profanity was addressed through informal counseling.”

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