Attorneys for a 29-year-old Black veteran are calling for a criminal investigation after he was beaten by police officers, one of whom seemingly smiled for a photo following the attack, during an October traffic stop in Colorado, The Hill reports.
On Monday (December 12), photos were released of the altercation involving Colorado police and Dalvin Gadson, who was living out of his car when he was stopped by an officer on October 9 for an alleged improper display of a license tag.
In the photos, Gadson can be seen lying on the ground with the side of his face and arm covered in blood, his right eye swollen, and bloodstains on his shirt. More pictures show law enforcement officials holding their arms out following the beating, including one officer who appeared to smile directly at the camera with blood on his knuckles.
A law enforcement official identified as Officer Hickman claimed Gadson's car smelled like marijuana and that the 29-year-old's "speech was slow" during the October traffic stop, according to court documents.
More officers arrived at the scene, and Gadson was ordered to exit his car under suspension of driving under the influence.
According to his lawyers, Gadson didn't comply because he didn't understand why he was being detained as marijuana is legal in Colorado. "Odor alone is insufficient without other evidence of impairment,” court documents say.
When the veteran refused to exit his car, officers forcibly removed him by punching him in the face and head. Gadson's lawyers say the officers continued to beat his head and back even after he was out of the vehicle.
“Dalvin Gadson was a homeless veteran living out of his car as he worked to reenlist and continue serving his country,” civil rights attorney Harry Daniels, who is representing Gadson, said at a press conference. “But all these officers saw was a Black man, and they beat him for it, smiling for the camera as he lay on the ground bleeding.”
Gadson was initially charged with two counts of second-degree assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer, driving under the influence, and driving without license plates. The assault charges have since been dropped, and the DUI charge was dismissed.
However, the 29-year-old sustained multiple injuries, including an injured eye, a ruptured eardrum, and PTSD, his lawyers said.
“They beat him mercilessly, and now he’s afraid to go outside, and the VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] can’t see him to treat his injuries and PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] until January,” Daniels said.
See the photos here.
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