A video from 2013 was recently obtained and released by theColorado Springs Independent as part of a report about police brutality.
The video shows an incident that is at the center of an excessive force lawsuit against the Colorado Springs Police Department.
The surveillance video is from the inside of Memorial Hospital, and shows an officer, Tyler Walker, slamming handcuffed 18-year-old Alexis Acker to the ground.
One of the police reports says officer Walker “rolled her out of the chair to the floor.” Another report says Walker “escorted Ms. Acker to the floor.” Apparently that’s cop talk for “smashed her face into the ground.”
A letter filed by Acker’s attorney says she suffered a concussion and two broken teeth; also injuries to her face, head, and jaw that have had long-term health consequences including migraine headaches, closed head injuries, memory and cognitive function problems, and post traumatic stress disorder.
Acker crossed paths with officer Walker when police responded to a disturbance at her apartment.
Although they didn’t find any probable cause, Ackers boyfriend, 19-year-old Tyrin Tanks, was arrested for an outstanding warrant. According to Walker’s report, Acker was “intoxicated and verbally uncooperative with police,” and became “physically combative” when Tanks was arrested. She kicked at officers, who eventually pinned her down and arrested her for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.
Walker, 6’3″ and 210 lbs, who was 29 at the time, reported that he “easily” got control of Acker, even noting her 5’4″ height and estimated weight of 110 pounds.
Walker transported Acker to Memorial Hospital for a “medical clearance” due to her “intoxication level and combative nature,” he says in his report.
Walker’s report says Acker “remained verbally aggressive, continually yelling obscenities towards police and my personal life. … She yelled statements such as, ‘I hope you and your wife can never have any children … because you’re a stupid fucking cop.’”
At the hospital, Walker says Acker refused to sit down, so he “pushed her down into the chair.” He claims Acker then kicked him “in the groin area.”
This is where the cop logic really shines.
Walker’s supervisor, Sgt. Mary Walsh, didn’t witness the take-down at the hospital, but she says that Walker “rolled her out of the chair to the floor” — his “only means to control her.”
An officer that was called to the hospital later, Anthony Carey, wrote in his report that Walker “escorted Ms. Acker to the floor.”
Out of all the accounts, Walker is actually the most forthcoming. He said he felt “immediate pain” and “forcefully threw Ms. Acker … face down on the ground,”
“It was then evident that I had caused her injury and knocked out her front tooth while throwing her on to the hard linoleum hospital floor, while her hands still handcuffed behind her back,” Walker wrote in his report.
He says “After my adrenalin wore off,” he felt pain in his left knee, an injury he incurred during his own aggressive outburst. He filed a Preliminary Accident Form and a Response to Aggression Form.
Four days later, Walker was contacted by Detective Christine Somersalmi “to notify him of his victim’s rights.”
Alexis Acker’s criminal defense attorney, Cindy Hyatt, who represented her for the five crimes she was charged with –including two felonies for assaulting a police officer– said she’s skeptical Acker kicked Walker in the groin.
“There’s no way she kicked him that hard in the balls,” she says. “He wouldn’t be standing. He’d be hunched over.”
“This is a very violent attack on someone who is in handcuffs, who is partially restrained and tiny, and there’s just no need for it,” Hyatt continues. “You can’t have something like this, whether it happens 100 times, 10 times or one time. It’s unacceptable. It cannot be tolerated. As a patrol officer in particular, that’s part of the job, dealing with that without planting someone’s face in the floor.”
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