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Denver City Council Approves Yet Another Excessive Force Settlement

DENVER (CBS4) – Members of the Denver City Council have approved a cash settlement with a man who claims he was beaten by police.

The city council usually decides on payouts when it’s a clear case of wrongdoing and in some cases a trial could cost more than a settlement.

This particular payout stems from an alleged incident in June of 2008. It allegedly took place at 12th and Pearl Street in Denver. Tyler Mustard testified in a preliminary hearing that two police officers beat him with a flashlight or club. He said the officers suspected him of spray-painting a van. Mustard suffered head injuries and his lung collapsed.

Mustard’s payout of $117,500 is the third excessive force settlement year to date and the second largest payout this year. All three equal $962,500. That’s just from January until now.

Denver councilman Paul Lopez says he’s frustrated that the city is in a position where it has to pay money for excessive force claims.

“That’s unacceptable because we have libraries that are closing, we have rec centers fees that we’re debating on increasing and we have child care slots disappearing,” Lopez said. “This is not coming out of nowhere. It’s frustrating because here we are trying to balance the budget, we should not be dealing with this.”

The biggest settlement ever in Denver was in May. Alexander Landau was given $795,000. Landau says he was beaten by three officers following a traffic stop in January of 2009 and said they tried to cover it up. His lawsuit alleged the officers used their flashlights and their fists to beat him.

Lopez hopes these recent cases do not endanger the relationship between the police and the public.

“While we still have a couple bad cases here and there, there are a lot of good men and women in blue that wear the badge in charge of protecting our city and they are doing it and doing it with integrity,” Lopez said.

For the entire year of 2010, the city only paid out a little of $138,000 in excessive force claims.


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