Denver, CO

Denver to pay $100,000 after police call man a 'turd'

David Heitz

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Denver police arrest Keilon Hill.FSAction9

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) A Black man will collect $100,000 from Denver after a police officer called him a "turd."

The City Council likely will approve the settlement Monday. Keilon Hill filed the lawsuit against the city in U.S. District Court, alleging unlawful arrest.

"The facts in this case present a veritable cornucopia of constitutional torts, as though the Denver Police Department ('DPD') were attempting to violate as many of Plaintiff Keilon Hill's constitutional rights as possible in a single encounter," KUSA reported.

According to KUSA, the suit alleges Hill, then 25, was involved in a minor traffic crash on Interstate 25 on April 27, 2020. Hill called 911 to report the crash.

"When (Officer Thomas) Ludwig arrived, he interviewed the driver and passenger of the other car first," KUSA quotes the lawsuit. "The driver and passenger, who were both white, said that Hill, who is Black, had caused the accident, and described him as hostile and aggressive, according to the suit."

KUSA reported the lawsuit Ludwig told another officer that Hill "looks like a turd."

Officer in suspect's face

The police body camera footage, posted on YouTube by a group called FSAction9, shows one of the officers becoming angry with Hill. He gets in Hill's face at one point.

The video begins with Hill in the back of an ambulance, not wanting to go to the hospital. A police officer calmly asks Hill to exit the ambulance to discuss the accident.

But as they approach another officer, who searched Hill's car, the officer tells Hill, "You're being an a**hole to everybody." Hill accused the officer of illegally searching the vehicle.

A struggle ensues, and an officer handcuffs Hill and puts him in the back of a squad car.

Hill asks, "What am I going to jail for?" And an officer responds, "We'll let you know in a few."

The officers accuse Ludwig of being intoxicated, which he denies. The last thing you hear before the video ends is one officer calling to another, "Tom, Tom! You got his ID?"

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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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