A Colorado man who was hit with a Taser and then arrested in his daughter's hospital room last year after refusing to give law enforcement officers a cell phone filed a federal lawsuit against the officers and their departments on Monday. He accused the agencies of repeatedly failing to discipline officers who violate people's constitutional rights.
According to the lawsuit, C.J. Andersen's 19-month-old daughter was taken to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs in April 2019 after the girl's mother, his fiancee, accidentally hit her while pulling out of their driveway when the girl ran after her vehicle. Colorado Springs police officers and Teller County sheriff's deputies suspected child abuse and wanted Andersen, who is white, to give them his fiancee's phone which he had in his pocket. According to the lawsuit, the suspicions were groundless.
Teller County had not received a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment on it, sheriffs spokesman Commander Greg Couch said. Colorado Springs police spokesperson Lt. James Sokolik said the department could not comment on ongoing litigation.
In body camera footage released by Andersen's lawyer, David Lane, one officer is seen reaching toward Andersen, who tells him You don't grab anything from my pockets," the lawsuit said. An officer is heard telling Andersen that he will be charged with obstruction before another goes behind him, grabs one of his arms and hits him with a Taser in his back. After Andersen is pushed down and handcuffed, an officer also stuns him in the leg.
The lawsuit accused the officers of violating Andersen's First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for objecting to their efforts to take the phone without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
It said the officers had no reasonable suspicion or probably cause that Andersen committed a crime when they used violent force against him before his arrest.
He was unarmed, was acting lawfully, was remaining calm, and did not threaten any officer."