United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER ON CITY DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
Michael E. Hegarty, United States Magistrate Judge.
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants City of
Commerce City and Troy Smith (“City Defendants”)
[filed March 13, 2017; ECF No. 57]. The motion is
fully briefed, and the Court finds that oral argument will
not assist in the adjudication of the motion. For the
following reasons and based on the entire record herein, the
Court grants in part and denies in part the City
initiated this lawsuit on November 15, 2016, then filed the
operative Amended Complaint as a matter of course on February
21, 2017, alleging excessive force in violation of the Fourth
Amendment against the individual Defendants and deliberate
indifference in hiring, training, supervision, and retention
against the City Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
following are factual allegations (as opposed to legal
conclusions, bare assertions, or merely conclusory
allegations) made by the Plaintiff in his Amended Complaint,
which are taken as true for analysis under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) pursuant to Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009).
November 18, 2014, the Plaintiff, Carl Leadholm, was driving
home after working a full day at a recycling company. At some
point during his drive home, Plaintiff suffered from a
medical condition due to low levels of glucose in his blood,
which caused him dizziness and blurred vision. This condition
caused Plaintiff to swerve his vehicle and drive erratically.
Defendants Dickey and Rouanzoin first encountered Plaintiff
on the road, saw the vehicle swerving, and pulled him over to
the side of the road. Rather than ask Plaintiff whether he
was alright, Dickey and Rouanzoin immediately started to
shout at him. Dickey and Rouanzoin did not attempt to secure
any information from Plaintiff regarding his identity, nor
explain why they pulled him over. The officers did not ask
any questions about Plaintiff's medical condition.
Rather, they opened the car door, pulled Plaintiff out, and
slammed him onto the pavement.
who had no previous interaction with law enforcement, curled
into a fetal position on the pavement to protect himself.
When Dickey and Rouanzoin pulled Plaintiff out of the
vehicle, the truck was still in “drive” and it
began to roll into oncoming traffic. Rouanzoin chased and
entered the vehicle, stopped it, and shut the engine off.
Plaintiff was still on the ground, Dickey and Rouanzoin
jammed Plaintiff's face into the pavement. At that point,
Defendant Diener sprayed Plaintiff in the face with pepper
spray, then Dickey, Rouanzoin, Jenkins, Diener, and Lord (the
“Individual Defendants”) struck Plaintiff with
batons in the legs. During this beating, Dickey accidently
struck Rouanzoin with his baton. Dickey also applied multiple
taser strikes to Plaintiff. Further, the Individual
Defendants wrenched Plaintiff's right hand behind his
back causing pain and damage to his hand, fingers, and
rotator cuff. These injuries necessitated two surgeries.
Plaintiff will require additional surgeries every ten years
to replace the joint in his finger.
did not resist the police officer's attempts to
physically restrain him. Eventually, an ambulance was called
to provide emergency care for Plaintiff. When the paramedics
gave him a chance to speak, Plaintiff indicated that he was
diabetic and did not feel well. The paramedics tested
Plaintiff's blood glucose level and found his readings to
be at a level of 35.
to information from the University of Michigan's Health
System Department of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes
pertaining to hypoglycemia-or low blood glucose-a blood
glucose reading of 35 is defined as follows:
The symptoms of severe low blood sugar develop when blood
sugar falls below 35-40 mg/dL and may include:
* Seizures or convulsions
* Loss of consciousness, coma
* Low body temperature (hypothermia)
attending paramedics recognized the potential danger that
existed for Plaintiff and promptly administered glycogen,
which likely prevented him from slipping into a diabetic
addition to the allegations raised by Plaintiff in this case,
other individuals have lodged the following allegations
against Commerce City and/or its police officers:
1. In 2003, Commerce City police officers chased a
suspect's vehicle at nearly 100 miles an hour. The chase
ended when the suspect, chased by six officers, smashed
head-on into Julie Bailey's small truck, flipping it onto
its roof and trapping and critically injuring Ms. Bailey and
her son, Brandon Magnuson. Brandon died soon thereafter of
injuries sustained in the crash. Bailey v. City of
Commerce City, et al., 05-cv-02440-WYD-CBS.
2. In 2003, Sergio Perez was repeatedly struck with a heavy
flashlight by Officer Juan Gomez. As a result of the attack,
Plaintiff fell to the ground, bleeding from his head and
mouth and was handcuffed and beaten further. Perez v.
Gomez et al., 05-cv-02241-WDM-BNB.
3. In 2007, Adam Launer was arrested by a Commerce City
Police Officer, Audie Vigil, without probable cause and
without warrant. While Mr. Launer was handcuffed and laying
face down on the ground, Officer Vigil held Mr. Launer in the
prone position, sprayed his neck and back with mace or pepper
spray, and punched him in the right shoulder. John Doe
Officers kicked Mr. Launer in the ribs and used their boot to
apply pressure from the handcuffs against his wrists. Mr.
Launer suffered from a partial pneumothorax, rib injuries,
bruises and contusions, and burns from the pepper spray or
mace. Launer v. Vigil, et al., 08-cv-01384-MSK-MJW.
4. In 2012, while on duty, Commerce City Police officer
Robert Price shot and killed a family's dog and was
charged with animal cruelty. Commerce City paid the family
$262, 000 for excessive force used against their dog.
Branson v. Price, et al., 13-cv-03090-REB-NYW.
Defendants Jenkins and Lord have been involved in the
1. On May 6, 2010, Commerce City Police officers, including
Defendant Jenkins, allegedly fired approximately nineteen gun
shots in a densely populated residential area killing one,
injuring another, and damaging private resident structures.
2. Defendant Lord resigned from the Commerce City Police
Department November 18, 2015 after his arrest for tampering
with evidence and false reporting. In that instance, Lord
shot himself in his own bullet proof vest on purpose and
knowingly blamed an innocent person. He ultimately pleaded
guilty, has a criminal conviction, and is on probation.
2011, Commerce City's police union presented Commerce
City with a 23-page report urging a review of years of
questionable conduct by police officers and alleged
mismanagement by senior police officials. Commerce City
attorney Karen Stevens was the first to review the report. Of
the police union's twenty-three pages of allegations, she
forwarded only eight incidences to the attention of Timothy
Leary, a third-party investigator hired to look into the
police union's claims, who also worked as a contractor
for Commerce City's insurer, Colorado ...