Colo. Spgs. police won’t say how officer was disciplined for using force on teenager

From the Colorado Springs Independent:  The public is being denied information about Officer Tyler Walker’s punishment for slamming a handcuffed teenager onto the floor and breaking one of her teeth in November 2013.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey issued a statement last Friday saying Walker, who remains on the force, was punished for violating a policy on use of force, but Carey refused to say how.

The Independent has sought the Internal Affairs investigation file under the Colorado Open Records Act. It’s being withheld pending a civil lawsuit filed by the teen, Alexis Acker, in July in federal court.

Steve Zansberg, First Amendment attorney and president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, says the file should be released.

“The fact that there is [a] pending civil lawsuit strikes me as irrelevant to the question if this file should be publicly disclosed now,” Zansberg says via email. “When a sworn peace officer was found to have violated departmental policy and was sanctioned therefor, the public is entitled to know how the Department reached that conclusion and what level of disciplinary sanction was imposed.”

At issue is a Nov. 21, 2013, incident in which Acker was arrested for kicking an officer. Extremely intoxicated, Acker was taken to Memorial Hospital for medical clearance before going to jail. At the hospital, Walker forced her to sit. She kicked toward him; he then lifted her and slammed her, face first, onto the floor.

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