WATCH: Colorado Man Sues After Brutal Attack by Drug Cops

Colorado – A Thornton tattoo artist was smoking a cigar behind his shop when a North Metro Drug Task Force sergeant “neck punched” him without provocation during an arrest and then he and another officer choked and pummeled him, a lawsuit says.

Denver civil rights attorneys Adam Frank and Faisal Salahuddin filed the excessive force lawsuit on behalf of 50-year-old David Martinez Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver.

Cheri Spottke, Westminster police spokeswoman, said the department investigated Martinez’ claims and cleared the officers of wrongdoing, saying they acted within police policy guidelines.

Investigators, however, did not have the video that is part of the lawsuit. “We will be happy to review the video and see if it makes a difference,” Spottke said.

Martinez is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against Sgt. Steven Holton and Detective Ben Russell of the Westminster Police Department and North Metro Drug Task Force.

On Aug. 10, 2016, Martinez was standing behind his shop, Davian’s Tattoo: Body Tattoo and Piercing, when he lit a cigar. Holton, who was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, had been waiting near the shop for Martinez to arrive, the lawsuit says.

Holton rapidly approached Martinez from behind and immediately started punching him, the lawsuit says.

“Sgt. Holton first stiff-armed Mr. Martinez in the throat and then began viciously punching Mr. Martinez in the face and head. Det. Russell then joined in the melee and assisted in assaulting a man who had not refused a single order or command prior to being throat-punched,” the lawsuit says.

Holton assaulted Martinez without provocation, before ordering Martinez to do anything and with no notice that he was a police officer, the lawsuit says. As Martinez tumbled down toward the seat of the bench, Holton immediately began “viciously pummeling” him in the face and repeatedly slamming his head against the cement wall near the bench, the lawsuit says.

Russell ran up and began punching Martinez and slamming his head into the wall repeatedly, the lawsuit says. The officers then dragged Martinez to the pavement and attempted to choke him. Martinez was bleeding and trying to protect his head, the lawsuit says.

“The defendants’ assault on Mr. Martinez left him in serious pain with lasting injury,” the lawsuit says.

Martinez, who had owned his tattoo shop since 1988, had bruises and cuts on his face and head and suffered a hernia that required surgery, the lawsuit says.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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