The City of Aurora, Colorado, has agreed to pay $110,000 to a man who was tased in the back by an Aurora police officer in 2016.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado announced the city’s decision Thursday to settle with its client Darsean Kelley, a young black man who was tased by an Aurora police officer as he said, “I know rights.”
The ACLU of Colorado’s legal director, Mark Silverstein, commended the city but also criticized the police department for not admitting any wrongdoing.
“The decision of the Aurora City Attorney’s Office to fairly and promptly resolve this matter stands in stark contrast to the actions of the Aurora Police Department, which at every turn has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or need for policy change even in the face of public outrage and irrefutable video evidence of misconduct,” Silverstein said. “The Aurora Police Department has no written policy whatsoever explaining when police can and cannot fire their tasers. And the Department desperately needs truly independent citizen oversight to hold the police accountable for wrongdoing.”
On Feb. 19, 2016, police were responding to a report of a man threatening a child with a gun when they stopped Kelley and his cousin walking on the street, the Aurora Sentinel reported. Video of the incident shows Kelley with his arms up, demanding to know why he was being detained and yelling,”I know my rights,” when the officer tased him. Kelley then lost muscular control, fell backwards and hit his head on the pavement.
Kelley was then arrested for disorderly conduct, a charge that was later dropped. The ACLU said Kelly spent three days in jail before he could post bail.
The Aurora Police Department has declined to comment on the settlement and has referred all questions to the city manager’s office.
Mike Hyman, the city’s attorney, defended the police department.
“We disagree with the ACLU’s characterization of the events in this case and their unwarranted attack against the Aurora Police Department. This case was settled for the reason that many cases are settled – to avoid the cost of prolonged litigation. That cost would have far exceeded the value of the settlement.”