The Denver City Council will consider Monday paying two people $64,001 each to settle yet another lawsuit against the Denver Police Department.
Brian Loma and Mike Whitney, represented by Killmer, Lane and Newman LLP, claim in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that Denver police violated their constitutional rights.
On Sept. 23, 2018, Loma staged a protest on 16th Street Mall against the police sweeping homeless encampments. “During his protest, Mr. Loma shouted “F*** the police!” according to court documents provided by Scribd. “Upon hearing these words, Denver Police Department officers began contemplating whether Mr. Loma should be arrested for disturbing the peace. When Mr. Loma’s shouting and profanity annoyed the sensibilities of a couple dining on a nearby restaurant patio that protrudes onto the public sidewalk, defendants used the couples’ complaint to, within minutes, arrest, and jail Mr. Loma for his protected speech.”
According to the court documents, Whitney wanted to help his friend and began taking pictures of the couple who filed the complaint. This angered police defendants Anthony Guzman and Michael Felsoci.
Whitney then told the defendants, “I did not take a f***ing picture” and Guzman and Felsoci immediately arrested Whitney for disturbing the peace. Guzman told him to stop swearing.
“No objectively reasonable officers would have believed that Mr. Loma and Mr. Whitney committed any crime,” the documents on Scribd continue. “Mr. Loma’s and Mr. Whitney’s rights under the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution were violated, as they were charged and arrested in retaliation for their respected speech, despite the fact they had done nothing giving rise to probable cause that they had violated any laws.”
The lawsuit also lists Cpl. Frederick Kitchens of the Denver Police Department as a defendant.
In recent weeks, the City Council has settled lawsuits against the police department at nearly every meeting.
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