WARNING: The images in this article are graphic and should be viewed with discretion.
Attorneys for a Black U.S. military veteran who was brutally beaten by police during a pretextual traffic stop in Colorado are making graphic photos from the incident public and calling for a criminal investigation.
Dalvin Gadson, who served in the Army National Guard as a helicopter mechanic, claims he was racially profiled and subjected to a brutal attack by multiple police officers in Colorado Springs while others looked on and didn’t intervene after he was pulled over for his car failing to display its tags in October.
One of the photos taken in the aftermath of the beating shows an officer smiling while displaying what appears to be a bruised knuckle, presumably from the police violence.
While the traffic stop was taking place, an officer claimed he smelled marijuana and informed Gadson that he would have to take a DUI test. Gadson, who was homeless at the time, was ordered out of the car and told he would be placed in handcuffs.
When Gadson refused to exit his car and asked why he would need to be handcuffed, he said the question was only answered with swift force.
Gadson, who has set up a GoFundMe account to help him pay for legal representation, explained what happened next:
At that moment, one of the peace officers violently grabbed my hand, and my body’s natural reaction was to pull my hand back. I did not think to do this. It was a natural reaction.
The same police officer immediately started punching me in the face while pulling me out of my car. After the first punch, I tried to say okay, I tried to say sorry, I tried to lay on the ground, but multiple officers were grabbing me, kicking me in the head, kneeing and elbowing me in the face, and punching me everywhere possible.
After I was punched several times in the face, I lost consciousness. (NOTE: No officers on the scene tried to stop this wrongdoing against me. There was thirteen peace officers on the scene) I regained awareness, lying on the asphalt. I was covered in blood, with two black eyes, one eye swelled shut with blood in my cornea, my whole body badly bruised, abrasions all over, lips busted, ribs and spine hurting and my eyesight was halfway gone (NOTE: my eyes, head, spine and back are still damaged from this incident).
Adding insult to literal injury, Gadson was charged with two counts of second degree assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer, driving under the influence and driving without license plates. The assault charges were eventually dropped and the DUI charge was dismissed last week after it was determined that “there was insufficient probable cause to require a blood test.”
One of Gadson’s lawyers suggested the officers involved were motivated by race.
“Dalvin Gadson was a homeless veteran living out of his car as he worked to reenlist and continue serving his country. But all these officers saw was a black man and they beat him for it, smiling for the camera as he lay on the ground bleeding,” civil rights attorney Harry Daniels said in a press release with graphic images of Gadson following the traffic stop. “They beat him mercilessly and now he’s afraid to go outside and the VA can’t see him to treat his injuries and PTSD until January.”
Gadson said he’s been left “terrified” of police officers.
“My liberty and pursuit of happiness is in jeopardy because of this incident,” Gadson said. “I don’t feel safe in my own neighborhood anymore.”
To be sure, this isn’t the first time Colorado Springs has been implicated in anti-Black and racist behavior.
Just last week, comedian and actor Mark Curry claimed he was racially profiled in a Colorado Springs hotel where he was booked to perform.
And back in February, the city of Colorado Springs was ordered to pay $175,000 to a Black Lives Matter protester to settle an excessive force lawsuit stemming from a violent encounter during the summer of 2020.
This is America.
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