Charges Dismissed In Police Tasing Incident, Review Underway

By Jeff Todd

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The Aurora Police Department will convene an independent review board to examine claims of excessive force by officers who tased an innocent man.

The incident in question happened on Feb. 19. Officers were responding to an apartment complex at 1445 Dallas Street after a report of a man pointing a gun at a 6-year-old child.

“While they were in route and very close to that location they found two people clearly having some kind of a dispute with each other,” said Crystal McCoy with the Aurora Police Department. “You can see how the officer had asked for them to comply with his orders and then Mr. Kelly, who obviously had some questions, and he was ultimately tased by the officers.”

Reports show Darsean Kelley was talking with his cousin Izear Brown when officers arrived.

A body-worn camera shows an officer responding and Kelley yelling at police asking why he was being detained before the tasing.

(credit: ACLU)

(credit: ACLU)

“Just as he said ‘I know my rights’ an officer tased him,” said ACLU Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.

The ACLU represented Kelley after he was charged with failing to comply with a lawful order. The Aurora Municipal Prosecutor dismissed the case in early September.

“This is not the way police should be investigating a situation. The police need facts that amount to reasonable suspicion that crime is afoot. They didn’t have reasonable suspicion. Police were making what is considered an illegal stop. A violation of the Fourth Amendment,” said Silverstein. “This video shows what police should not be doing when they need to calm a situation, when they need to de-escalate.”

CBS4's Jeff Todd interviews ACLU Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Jeff Todd interviews ACLU Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein (credit: CBS)

Aurora police say an internal use of force board reviewed the incident. The review isn’t public record but police said Sgt. Claude Burns’ actions were “within policy.”

Now with the release of the body-worn camera footage Aurora is having another review with the input from citizens.

“Any time there’s an incident of community interest we can empanel this board which is inclusive of community members to come in and take a look at it and give some recommendations to the chief,” said McCoy.

Silverstein stopped short of saying this was a race-based incident but did says this is an example of the “current contemporary issue about police and citizen interaction.”

“I don’t know if police would have made the stop if they had seen two white men walking down the street. We do know this is another case of two young African American men doing nothing wrong and suddenly police are detaining them and pointing tasers at them,” said Silverstein.

“I don’t have any knowledge of there being any racial profiling in this case,” McCoy said.

CBS4's Jeff Todd interviews Aurora Police Department spokeswoman Crystal McCoy (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Jeff Todd interviews Aurora Police Department spokeswoman Crystal McCoy (credit: CBS)

Aurora told CBS4 the legal department needed to review the video before making it public. The version broadcast on CBS4 and included in the online story is from the ACLU.

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.


One Comment

  1. Tim says:

    It doesn’t matter if he was black or white, he didn’t follow the officer’s instructions. He wasn’t tased for asking a question “Karen”, he was tased for NOT FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS. Stop slanting the news to fit your agenda, what ever that is. At least they didn’t shoot him. About profiling; if a black man was seen with a gun, should they stop white women to look for the gun or stop black men (how did we get so stupid)?

    1. Jamal says:

      He did follow instructions and yet was tasered for no reason. The police had no reasonable suspicion to believe they were involved in the incident nor had any evidence. He had no right to even stop them. Yet, you still will defend unlawful orders and detainment. No way you can call yourself American and still accept the violation of another American rights. Go Figure!

  2. Rob Weber says:

    If D*** A** would’ve just followed the Police commands like his buddy did he would’ve been out of there I a few minutes. But he had to get his Big Mouth going and here we are.

  3. Gary says:

    The video shows the officer yelling at the suspect in an attempt to escalate the tension of the situation. This officer needs to settle down. Not everything that comes out of a cop’s mouth is a “lawful order. At least this officer didn’t use his gun, thanks for that restraint.

  4. Ryan says:

    Tim, Rob, Gary, if the police are not actually charging you with anything, they have no right to detain you. It’s either explain why you are being detained, or say “have a nice day”. They can’t just stop anyone on the street without cause. There was no description given of the person that allegedly pulled the gun. So they have zero probable cause or reasonable suspicion, other than the fact that these guys happened to be in the area. As soon as he asked why he was being detained, he has a legal right to know why he is being detained. Asking a question is completely legal and does not deserve getting tased.

    1. Ryan says:

      Sorry not Gary. Just Rob and Tim

  5. Glenda Campbell says:

    1) My biggest concern was when he was tasered he hit the back of his head. He mentioned that when he comes to from being dazed. The police mention that fact several times. They took pics of the back of his head saying, “He hit the concrete or asphalt with the back of his head”. Yet, they do on call for an ambulance!. One cop mentions they’ll have him checked out before they take him to jail, but how long is that going to be?! Some of you may not have watched the whole tape after the taser action was over, but at one time he asked for an officer’s name, The cop said “I already told you”, The detainee says, “I can’t remember, I hit my head”. So he clearly has a brain injury, but the police can’t recognize his need for immediate treatment?t! Brain injuries are serious & need immediate medical attention, but the police do not care! It’s like when cops shot people and do not render any aid & let the victim bleed out (even when it’s Police Dept policy to render aid!) Serve & Protect my butt! 2) The police did not head to the ‘scene of the crime’ & try to save the 6-year-old boy from being shot. 3) I agree he was illegally stopped because they didn’t even have a description of the alleged perpetrator. They just saw 2 black men walking in the area, so the police assumed they must be up to no good! FYI I am a 63-year-old white woman who has never had an encounter with the police, so my comments come from the point of justice, not a personal grudge against the police!

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