Aurora to Pay $110,000 to Settle Lawsuit After Unlawfully Detaining and Tasing Man


AURORA, Colo — The city of Aurora will pay $110,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed police officers unlawfully detained and used a stun gun on a man in 2016.

In a statement released Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union said “Police tased [Darsean] Kelley in the back as he said, ‘I know my rights.'”

Aurora officials said they settled the lawsuit because it would have cost more to fight the case in court, and called the statement from the ACLU an “unwarranted attack against the Aurora Police Department.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Kelley, who they described as a “young black man.”

According to the ACLU, Kelley and his cousin were walking along 14th Avenue on Feb. 19, 2016, when they were stopped by police officers.

The officers were responding to a call about a potential crime at a nearby apartment complex but had no description of a suspect, the ACLU stated.

The ACLU released video taken from an officer’s body camera in September and it has been viewed more than 1 million times.

In the video, officers are seen stopping Kelley and another man, and order them to sit down. One man states he has a pulled groin and said, “I actually cannot sit.”

Police ordered both men to turn around. Kelley put his hands up above his head and repeatedly asks, “For what?”

“I know my rights. What are we being detained for?” Kelley yells.

“Answer my question, officer,” Kelley shouts.

He points to his chest and states again, “I know my rights.”

That’s when an officer shoots him in the back with a stun gun.

Kelley falls straight backward and then he can be heard crying out and moaning in pain.

“He lost all muscular control and fell straight backwards, striking his head on the street pavement,” the ACLU stated.

Kelley was arrested and charged in Aurora Municipal Court for failure to obey lawful orders, a misdemeanor, according to police.

He spent three days in jail before he could bond out, according to the ACLU.

The police department’s Force Review Board investigated the incident and determined “force applied in this incident was within policy,” the police department stated in September.

ACLU lawyers successfully argued the unlawful street detention violated the Fourth Amendment and Kelley’s case was dismissed.

“That the Aurora Police Department reviewed this incident and gave it a departmental stamp of approval shows the Department is incapable of policing itself,” ACLU staff attorney Rebecca T. Wallace said in a statement.

“If what happened to Darsean Kelley is business as usual for the Aurora Police Department — as their own review board found — then Aurora taxpayers can expect to continue to foot the bill while black and brown men suffer at the hands of police.”

Aurora city attorney Mike Hyman issued a statement Thursday in response to the ACLU’s statement.

“This case was settled for the reason that many cases are settled – to avoid the cost of prolonged litigation. That cost would have far exceeded the value of the settlement.”