A Denver police officer will lose 30 days of work for unnecessarily punching a man in the face and then Tasing the man in the back after he was already handcuffed.
Cody Lane and another officer responded Feb. 15 to a domestic violence call and went to an apartment with an open door where they could hear screaming and yelling, according to a copy of a disciplinary letter about Lane’s conduct obtained by The Denver Post through a records request. The officers told the man in the apartment to come out with his hands up.
The man, who is not named in the letter, raised his hands and then slowly walked out of the apartment after lowering them, body camera footage of the incident shows. The man obeyed orders to turn around with his hands up and officers then pinned him to a wall while trying to handcuff him.
Lane told internal affairs investigators that the man was tensing his muscles and not allowing the officers to cuff him. Lane also said the man seemed to try to hit him with his elbow, to which Lane responded by punching him several times in the face. Lane said he feared the man would overpower the two officers.
The officers cuffed the man, but Lane said the man continued to push back against them so he drew his Taser. Video of the incident shows the man turning to the second officer and attempting to ask her a question. After giving a warning, Lane shocked the man in the upper back, near his neck, by placing the Taser directly on him.
Lane’s decision to punch the man in the face was unreasonable because the man was acting defensively, not aggressively, Deputy Director of Public Safety Mary Dulacki wrote in Lane’s disciplinary letter.
“There was no threat or overt act of an imminent assault which would have justified the use of physical strikes to the subject,” Dulacki wrote.
Dulacki found the use of the Taser similarly unreasonable, especially since Denver police policy prohibits the use of a Taser on a person’s neck or spine.
Lane, who joined the department in 2018, had no previous similar disciplinary issues, according to the letter.
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