Judge orders me to pay medical bill of cop who assaulted me

David Heitz


(Travis Essinger/Unsplash)

I’ve been ordered to pay the hospital bill of the cop who beat me up.

I pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor resisting arrest. The police said I was violating the camping ordinance when I fell asleep in a park during park hours. They woke me up and severely beat me. I was taken to Denver Health where doctors tended to lacerations on my face.

My discharge papers have "assault victim" stamped on them. The taxpayers footed my medical bills.

You can read all about it in this story I wrote for News Break. The police even made derogatory comments about my sexuality during the beating.

It wasn’t the first time. Denver police have beaten me multiple times, and they know it. One beating already was the subject of an internal affairs investigation.

Yet despite all that, a judge ordered me to pay approximately $800 restitution for a cop’s medical bills. The police report said I donkey-kicked him. Apparently, that means kicking someone in the scrotum while you are pinned to the ground.

I always have believed Denver is wholly corrupt, from the police department to City Hall to the District Attorney’s office. But now I know it is, for how can you be forced to paid restitution for a crime you did not commit?

Or even were charged with? That charge was dropped in exchange for the misdemeanor plea. So how can I be stuck with the cop’s medical bills?

I am shocked that the judge made the order. It seems totally illegal.

I’m deemed ‘incompetent,’ Denver DA’s husband starts fires

What’s even more shocking is I was deemed “incompetent to proceed” shortly after the incident. I was placed in the state mental hospital for almost six months.

You can read this News Break piece on my being declared incompetent to proceed by clicking here.

You can read all about my time in the state mental hospital by clicking on this News Break story here.

Almost everyone who came out of the state hospital has had their charges dropped. This includes people charged with assault on a peace officer.

Police commonly harass and assault homeless people in Denver. They then charge the homeless person with assault.

Instead of cutting me a break for being a mentally ill person, or congratulating me for my incredible rebound from homelessness, the DA made a snide remark. He said I was lucky the cop was so understanding.

Give me a break, sir. The Denver DA’s husband sets fires. That’s how professional your office is.

You can read the Colorado Public Radio news report about the Denver DA’s husband being charged with felony arson by clicking here.

An online shopping spree because I had nothing

I had a good month with News Break in December. I received a nice paycheck that I was not expecting even a month before.

So, what does a formerly homeless person do when they come into some money? I had another part-time writing job before News Break, but it paid little. Most of the money went to medical cannabis, food (I receive $40 per month in food stamps) and toiletries.

But the News Break check was enough to buy things. When you’re homeless, it means your clothes have holes in them. Your shoes may not have soles on them. And you certainly don’t have any furniture.

Now that I have a place to live and a job, I can think about buying clothes. Shoes. Furniture.

And I did. I put some money aside, too. But I had a bit of an online shopping spree on Walmart and Amazon.

Fresh from the street, stocking up on necessities

So, you might wonder what the most important things are to a homeless person who gets their first real paycheck after a couple of years on the street.

I can tell you what I bought. And living on the street influenced every one of my purchase.

A winter coat. Never again will I ever be without a warm winter coat. The coat I bought is made by Levi’s. It’s a retro “puffy coat” in white camo. I love it.

Boots. I bought the sturdiest pair of boots I could find. They are made by Bates. They look like combat boots and zip up the side. They cost under $100, but not much under.

Tennis shoes. I bought a pair of stylish Skechers, and I’m glad I did. The boots are leather. They are very stiff fresh out of the box. The tennis shoes are more comfortable.

A director’s chair. I bought an extra wide, red director’s chair with walnut finish. I did not have a spare chair in my room for when I have a visitor. A director’s chair seemed like a stylish but sensible choice.

A couple of Parson’s Tables. I bought two Parson’s Tables for $34. One came in walnut finish and the other in black. I needed something to put my coffee pot and coffee supplies on. I also needed a table to sit next to my desk for papers.

A few hats. I bought three new hats. A bit excessive, maybe. But hats keep your head warm and are a great way to add personality to any outfit. I bought a tan, brushed leather “newsboys” hat. I can’t wait for it to arrive. Out of everything I bought online, the newsboy hat takes the longest to arrive.

I also bought a black leather baseball cap. I thought it looked kind of edgy.

Finally, I got a Donald Trump hat in exchange for a small donation to the Republican party. I am certain the hat will be a collector’s item.

Candles. I bought a bunch of candles. After court, when the $800 restitution was sprung on me, I canceled several candle orders. However, I considered everything else I purchased must haves.

Glad court is behind me

I am glad my legal issues are behind me. I was given six months of unsupervised probation for a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge. That means I can continue to consume my medical cannabis. My doctor wrote a note to the court endorsing my cannabis use.

I have been through a great deal of trauma during the past several years. Court looming over my head felt like the tail end of many years of duress.

I am excited to move forward.

And I am so grateful to News Break for my great month of December. It feels nice to have some new clothes and a few things for my apartment.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

Denver, CO

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