By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – A man from Aurora says he was racially profiled while waiting to pick up a friend at an apartment in Denver.
The incident led to a man’s arrest and now a federal civil rights lawsuit against Denver and three officers.
“I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was parked. In my vehicle waiting for a friend to come down,” said Deon Jones. “I know I don’t have any warrants, I don’t have any reason for them to even be approaching me. That’s why I was ready to give them my license and insurance for them to do whatever they needed to do.”
The incident was captured on multiple officers’ body cameras around 2 a.m. on April 26, 2016. The encounter is roughly four minutes long and ended with Jones in handcuffs.
His charges for not obeying a lawful order and drug possession were later dismissed. Jones and his attorney say the Denver police were racially profiling as they ran license plates searching for criminals.
At one point during the video an officer can be heard saying, “This car is registered out of Aurora so he doesn’t belong here.”
“In order to detain someone they need reasonable suspicion a crime has been committed,” said David Lane, the attorney representing Jones. “They pull him out of the car illegally, they search him illegally, they search his car illegally. They have no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe he’s done anything wrong other than sitting in his car.”
“When they opened my vehicle that really shocked me and I grabbed the door back. I was like, ‘Man are they going to kill me because I didn’t get out of the vehicle?’ What’s really going on?”
The lawsuit is filed against the City and County of Denver and three officers. The city attorney’s office has not yet responded to CBS4’s request for comment.
Jones says he’s hoping the lawsuit will bring better training for Denver officers.
“I was able to see all the violations,” Jones said after seeing the body camera videos. “You can’t do this; you can’t keep violating us in our own communities. Someone needs to police the police.”
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.