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4 Women Sue City Over Incident Outside Denver Diner

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Sharelle Thomas talks with CBS4's Dominic Garcia. (credit: CBS)

Sharelle Thomas talks with CBS4′s Dominic Garcia. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – The city of Denver is now facing a series of lawsuits stemming from a case of police officers using excessive force.

They were all filed Tuesday because of an incident in 2009. A night of celebrating for a group of women ended with a violent encounter with Denver police.

Sharelle Thomas was one of those women. She told CBS4 she ended up in the hospital and have to have surgery on her left eye because of the incident.

She is one of four women suing the city and officers even though they were fired over the incident.

“So many times people think they can’t stand up to a police officer — that they can’t stand up to the law. But when the law is wrong and the people who are supposed to be working for you turn against you, you have a voice and a right to say you were treated unfairly,” she said.

Thomas had just graduated from Colorado Christian University and was out to celebrate.

“It was supposed to be something that was absolutely amazing. A great accomplishment. And it ended up being a terrible night,” she said.

The situation was captured on one of the city’s High Activity Location Observation cameras. The HALO cam video, captured from the camera’s location on the west side of Speer Boulevard and across the street from the diner, showed Denver Officer Kevin Devine pulling Thomas by her arm. Devine had a cigar in his mouth.

“I was shoved, pinned down, then by another police officer pepper sprayed as I tried to get away,” Thomas said.

Devine, and Officer Ricky Nixon, who is also seen on the video macing a woman on her knees, were both fired. The city’s Manager of Safety said they were deceptive and left details of the incident out of their reports.

“This is another case of Denver police officers brutalizing citizens of Denver,” said Siddhartha Rathod, the lawyer representing Thomas.

CBS4 reached out to the city’s attorneys but they said they had no comment about the legal action.

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