Earlier this summer, a sheriff’s deputy in Clear Creek County, Colorado, fatally shot a man who called 911 because he was having trouble getting into a car. The murder shook the Coloradans and Gov. A rare rebuke from Jared Polis (D). HuffPost has now learned that Deputy Andrew Bunin is being prosecuted for excessive force over a 2019 incident where he allegedly strangled a man and knelt on his back.
Last year, a federal judge allowed a trial of excessive force, which was reported by local media, but did not name Bunin to proceed.
In the suit filed in 2020, Manuel Camacho alleged that Bunin and another deputy assaulted him along with two other deputys. He said officers were “holding my head and strangling me” before taking him to the ground, turning his body so that he was face down on the ground and kneeling in front of him.
“Since both of these 230-pound reps were on my back, I couldn’t breathe, they nearly choked me to death. I was terrified, and when I was able to catch a breath I screamed in pain and shouted for help,” Camacho said. He said officers then took him to a chair and put a nylon strap on his ankles so tightly that it restricted circulation to his feet.
Camacho, which is seeking $407,000 in damages, also alleged that the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department failed to properly train the deputies involved in the incident.
A US magistrate judge recommended denying deputies covered in suitable immunity after the sheriff’s office previously filed a motion to dismiss the suit. Qualified immunity protects officers from liability until the individual establishes that the officer has violated a clear constitutional right.
But a US district judge upheld the trial, saying the sheriff’s office had no argument against violating Camacho’s 14th Amendment rights, which prevent the government from giving pain to a detainee who is presumed innocent. .
Buen was one of seven officers from five departments who arrived at the scene on June 10, after Christian Glass, dialed 22,911, because his SUV was stuck on rocks. Bunin eventually fired at least five shots at Glass, who left his vehicle in no time.
The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office said Byne fired at Glass because he refused to drop the knife he had with him after being asked to do so by officers. Neither the sheriff’s office nor the county’s district attorney’s office responded to multiple requests for comment about Beun’s role in the shooting nor his disciplinary record. Bunin’s lawyer declined to comment.
Glass initially called 911 because her vehicle was stuck on a mountain road in Silver Plum, Colorado. He told the dispatcher that he was scared, and that he needed help getting out of the area. When the dispatcher asked if he had weapons, Glass replied that he had some tools: two knives, a hammer and a rubber mallet.
“I’m in a vehicle and my vehicle got stuck in a very bad way,” Glass said. “I have a weapon. I’ll throw them out the window as soon as the officer comes over.”
Glass also said he was “not dangerous” and that his hands would be visible when officers arrived at the scene.
Later body-camera footage shows Glass sitting in the driver’s seat with his arms raised as an officer tries to persuade him to get out. “We’re not going to shoot you, but we need you to come here,” Bunin is heard saying.
Bunin tells Glass to take the keys off the ignition; Glass does this and sets them on the dashboard. Glass tells the officers to push or pull his car out of the area and says he will follow them to the police station if they do.
The officers ignore his request, and Beaune tells Glass to get out of the vehicle.
“Sir, I’m scared,” Glass responds according to the video.
Beaune tells Glass that he will break the window of the SUV. When he sees the knife inside the vehicle, he takes out his gun. “Now get out of the fucking car,” says Bunin, his gun pointed at the glass. Another officer is standing behind the vehicle holding his gun.
Sheesha is seen scared to get out of the car in front of the officers. About an hour after the first officers reached the spot, now seven officers of different departments are surrounding the vehicle. Video footage shows Glass holding her hands in the shape of a heart and raising them towards officers.
At one point, a Colorado State Patrol officer is heard telling other officers that they should stand back.
“My sergeant says there is no point in contacting him. He is not harming himself or anyone else, then no crime,” the state patrol is heard saying in bodycam footage .
Bunin eventually broke the glass front window. Several officers at the scene said Glass had a knife in his hand, but it was not clear from bodycam footage whether he did. Officers yell at Glass to drop the knife, and Glass screams from inside the vehicle.
At one point, an officer jumps by pointing a flashlight at the hood of a vehicle of glass.
An officer is heard saying, “Someone teasing his ass, someone teasing him.”
Bunin then uses a stun gun on Glass, screaming from the passenger side of the vehicle. Moments later, he fires six shots at the glass.
Officers then pull Glass out of the vehicle.
Another Clear Creek County officer arrived at the scene after the shooting, and footage from that period sometimes makes no sound. At one point, the officer mutes his camera for about 25 minutes.
Siddharth Rathod, a lawyer representing Glass’s family, said: “What the authorities did in this case was not a strategy.” “It wasn’t the police, it was bullying. It was escalation. It was murder.”
“It is the failure of the police at every step,” he said. “They had no justification to break his window and shoot him six times, to taunt him multiple times. They created the situation – they went ahead at every opportunity.”
Colorado Public Radio reported last week that Byne is currently on patrol duty. The investigation into the shooting is still underway.