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Settlement reached in civil rights lawsuit over flashlight beating by former Colorado Springs police officer

Elizabeth Harris, ACLU cooperating attorney, 303.389.4647
Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director, 303.777.5482 x114

The ACLU of Colorado announced today that it had reached an agreement with the City of Colorado Springs to resolve a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last summer that alleged that a Springs police officer beat the ACLU’s client, Delvikio Faulkner, multiple times in the head with a heavy-duty police flashlight after a traffic stop in July, 2005.

“The City of Colorado Springs has agreed to pay compensation to our client, who suffered a brutal and unjustified beating,” said Elizabeth Harris, of Jacobs, Chase, Frick, Kleinkopf & Kelley, an ACLU cooperating attorney who represented Delvikio Faulkner in the case.

The beating prompted an internal investigation that found that the officer, Kenneth Hardy, used excessive force against an unarmed suspect who posed no physical threat.  While Hardy was appealing that finding, he was terminated for other reasons.

“The City deserves credit for taking responsibility and promptly resolving this lawsuit against a former officer,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director.   “The City properly recognized the seriousness of the allegations.  A blow to the head from these heavy-duty police flashlights can be fatal—it is the equivalent of using deadly force.”

According to the lawsuit, Officer Hardy delivered six blows from the flashlight, including three to Mr. Faulkner’s head.  The blows continued long after it was clear that Mr. Faulkner was not resisting.  Faulkner required hospital treatment, including eight staples to close the head wounds.

The federal civil rights suit was filed only after an earlier round of litigation in state court between the ACLU and the City of Colorado Springs.  After receiving the ACLU’s request for the internal investigation file, the City refused to disclose it and instead sued the ACLU in state court, asking it to declare that the file was not subject to disclosure under the Colorado open records laws.  The ACLU won that suit early in 2007, and it obtained the full investigative file on the beating of Mr. Faulkner. 

The federal court suit, Faulkner v. Hardy, followed shortly thereafter.

Additional ACLU cooperating attorneys representing Mr. Faulkner were N. Reid Neureiter and Kathryn A. Reilly, colleagues of Ms. Harris at the Jacobs Chase law firm.

About the ACLU of Colorado
The ACLU is a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending and preserving the principles of the Bill of Rights through litigation, advocacy and public education.  The ACLU Foundation of Colorado works to protect the rights of all Coloradans. 

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