As expected, Alexis Acker filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against chief of police Peter Carey, the Colorado Springs Police Department and Officer Tyler Walker on Friday. The lawsuit doesn't cite a dollar figure, which was said to be $500,000 in a notice of claim letter submitted to the city in May 2014.
Acker after Walker bashed her head to the floor.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Shimon Kohn, describes the injuries Acker, 18 at the time, suffered from the November 2013 incident in which, while handcuffed, she was slammed to the floor of Memorial Hospital's emergency room by Walker. A video of the incident was posted first by the Independent on July 15 and then went viral across the country. ("Full force" cover story.)
Walker is under investigation by the CSPDInternal Affairs division, a probe initiated in July 2014, three months after the lawsuit threat. He also might be under criminal investigation. In January 2013, two months after the Memorial incident, he was rated with a 92-percent performance rating by his supervisors, records show.
Mayor John Suthers has downplayed the Independent's report, saying he's been aligned through the years with law enforcement through membership on the Police Officers Standards and Training panel and as district attorney. Suthers served as attorney generalbefore being elected as mayor in May. He also notes that the public and "investigative reporters" should know that officers deal with difficult situations daily and have to make snap judgments without the benefit of "20/20 hindsight."
The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association gave Suthers $6,000 during his campaign for mayor.
Two City Council members have said they trust the police, so there's not much indication of a deeper look at what's going on with the CSPD, which has been sued eight times in five years resulting in payouts of $412,000.
But in the meantime, Walker's few seconds in the spotlight of the video, which has caused lasting injury to Acker, according to her lawsuit, could cost taxpayers plenty.