UNITED STATES NEWS

Colorado deputies who tased a man multiple times are fired following an investigation

Sep 11, 2023, 3:13 PM

DENVER (AP) — Two Colorado sheriff’s deputies were fired after an investigation found their repeated use of Tasers against a man, including in his lower lip, was unjustified, the Las Animas County Sheriff’s office confirmed Monday.

Deputy Mikhail Noel and Lt. Henry Trujillo violated a number of agency policies, including inappropriately using a Taser against Kenneth Espinoza while he was handcuffed and inaccurately reporting what happened, according to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators also recommended referring the matter for a criminal probe, alleging that Noel’s and Trujillo’s actions during the traffic stop escalated the use of physical force, bodily injury and false arrest. It is unknown if a criminal investigation has been launched.

“The existence of excessive and unlawful force was so apparent here that there’s really only one conclusion,” said attorney Kevin Mehr, who’s representing Espinoza in lawsuits against the deputies and the sheriff’s office. “This is the most outrageous thing I’ve ever seen.”

The sheriff’s office said Noel and Trujillo were fired on Aug. 25, but declined to comment further pending the lawsuit from Espinoza.

Telephone numbers for Noel and Trujillo could not immediately be found. A message seeking comment was left Monday for their attorney, David Goddard.

The events being investigated began when Espinoza’s son was pulled over on Nov. 29, 2022 for a traffic stop while his father was driving behind him. When Espinoza pulled off the road to support his son, Trujillo and Noel ordered him to leave.

After initially refusing, Espinoza was starting to drive away when the deputies ordered him to stay. Noel, who said Espinoza tried to strike him with his truck, then pointed his gun at Espinoza, according to the report. Espinoza was handcuffed, told he was under arrest, taken to the patrol car and stunned with a Taser, the report found.

Noel and Trujillo said Noel was uncooperative, resisting and attempting to harm the deputies by kicking them.

The investigation found Espinoza did not attempt to strike Noel with his truck and “at no time does Mr. Espinoza actively use any force against Lt. Trujillo or Dep. Noel,” wrote Undersheriff Reynaldo Santistevan in a Aug. 10 letter to the Las Animas County Sheriff. He recommended both deputies be fired after reviewing body camera footage and the investigative report.

Santistevan added that at “no time did either try to de-escalate this matter, but only made it worse.”

Santistevan said he initially reviewed the deputies use-of-force reports, checking only for grammatical and spelling errors. He did not watch the body camera footage at first.

“In hindsight I now see this was wrong and should have reviewed all documents and watched all body camera videos before approving this use of force,” he wrote.

A local, unnamed police officer interviewed as part of the investigation said there had been “numerous” calls complaining of Trujillo’s behavior in the past and that the reports were sent to the district attorneys office, but nothing was done.

Espinoza is suing the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office for failure to train and discipline employees.

United States News

Associated Press

Law enforcement officials in 4 states report temporary 911 outages

Law enforcement agencies in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas reported temporary outages to 911 services before saying hours later that services had been restored. It was not immediately clear what caused the outages or whether they were related. The South Dakota Department of Public Safety said in statement posted on social media Wednesday night […]

41 minutes ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: World shares are mixed after a tech-led retreat on Wall Street

World shares were mixed on Thursday after sinking technology stocks sent Wall Street lower again. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1% to 17,756.81 while the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.4% to 8,010.04. In London, the FTSE 100 edged 0.1% higher, to 7,857.46. The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.3% while that for the Dow […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Takeaways from this week’s reports on the deadly 2023 Maui fire that destroyed Lahaina

HONOLULU (AP) — More than half a year after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century burned through a historic Maui town, officials are still trying to determine exactly what went wrong and how to prevent similar catastrophes in the future. But two reports released this week are filling in some of the […]

9 hours ago

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Oklahoma man arrested after authorities say he threw a pipe bomb at Satanic Temple in Massachusetts

BOSTON (AP) — An Oklahoma man was arrested Wednesday after authorities accused him of throwing a pipe bomb at the Massachusetts headquarters of a group called The Satanic Temple. The Salem-based group says on its website that it campaigns for secularism and individual liberties, and that its members don’t actually worship Satan. Sean Patrick Palmer, […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Ellen Ash Peters, first female chief justice of Connecticut Supreme Court, dies at 94

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Ellen Ash Peters, who was the first woman to serve as Connecticut’s chief justice and wrote the majority opinion in the state Supreme Court’s landmark school desegregation ruling in 1996, has died. She was 94. Peters, who also was the first female faculty member at Yale Law School, passed away Tuesday, […]

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Colorado deputies who tased a man multiple times are fired following an investigation