- Pam Zubeck
The Colorado State Patrol's ops plans for the BATTLE (Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement) task force calls for members to "be prepared to positively identify themselves as a law enforcement officers at all times in the event the need arises."
The advisory, in boldface, underscores what experts have said is standard procedure when approaching a suspected felon, including having guns drawn and being marked as officers. But during the plainclothes task force's Feb. 5 attempted arrest of suspect Manuel Zetina, 19, officers didn't announce "police" or have guns drawn until Deputy Scott Stone grabbed Zetina and Zetina started shooting. Deputy Micah Flick and Zetina were killed and three officers were injured, as well as an innocent bystander.
The ops plans, obtained Sept. 13 by the Independent via a Colorado Open Records Act request, also stated, "The goal is simply not arresting a suspect, but instead to identify multiple suspects and stolen property in addition to other criminal actions." The Colorado Springs Police and El Paso County Sheriff's Office, part of the BATTLE program, haven't said whether the shootout led to other arrests.
Patrol's Sgt. Chad Hunt and Capt. Mark Mason approved the ops plans Feb. 2.
In another CORA response, records show neither of the CSPD officers involved that day, Sgt. Kevin Miyakusu and Detective Marcus Yanez, had trained in auto theft arrests with the task force, just as Sheriff's Office records showed. The 2017 and 2018 interagency agreements for BATTLE call for investigators "to attend a minimum of 6 of the 12 monthly Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI) meetings per year." Yanez attended such training in May 2017. But Miyakusu's training records don't mention CATI training.
No records indicated the task force trained together.