Excessive force lawsuit against Colorado Springs police is settled

Excessive force lawsuit against Colorado Springs police is settled
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A federal lawsuit against two Colorado Springs police officers and the city filed by a protester who was allegedly slammed head first into the pavement has been settled.

Last week the Colorado Springs City Council approved a $175,000 settlement for Celia Palmer, who, according to the excessive force lawsuit, was ambushed by Sgt. Keith Wrede on June 2, 2020, after she and a friend left a George Floyd demonstration when police ordered it to disperse.

Wrede was disciplined by the department in August of 2020 for commenting “KILL THEM ALL” and “KILL EM ALL” on a Facebook live stream event of a Black Lives Matter protest in Colorado Springs in June of 2020.

“This settlement brings some semblance of justice to Ms. Palmer, who was brutalized for no reason,” said Andy McNulty, an attorney who represented Palmer, in an emailed statement.

The settlement includes, as of March 1, the following language in Colorado Springs Police Department Policy:

  • Dispersal warnings are mandatory, prior to utilizing less lethal tools or force to
    disperse a crowd.
  • Prior to using force, an officer shall identify himself or herself as a peace officer.

An officer is not required to give such warning “when doing so would unduly place officers at risk
of injury and/or would create a risk of death or injury to other persons,” according to CSPD policy language. “When a warning cannot be given in a situation where force is used, the officer will
document the reasons why in the case report.”

The city, in a statement, said that the settlement does not implicate Wrede or Officer Wesley Woodworth of any wrongdoing.

“The City of Colorado Springs chose to settle this case in the interests of its taxpayers. The cost of litigation is a consideration in making settlement decisions,” the statement said. “In regard to this matter, no court found any wrongdoing by the officers involved.”


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