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A deaf Colorado man, tackled and tased by police officers during a 2019 traffic stop — and who later spent four months in jail — is seeking justice, according to a newly filed civil suit.
Brady Mistic, 26, is suing two Idaho Springs police officers, for the “emotional harm, pain and suffering, permanent scarring, and economic damages” he endured during the violent traffic stop two years ago, a copy of the civil suit, which Oxygen.com obtained, alleges.
According to the lawsuit, officers Ellie Summers and Nicholas Hanning, were ill equipped, ill trained, and actively ignored signs of his disability during the alleged assault, in which Mistik was unable to decipher their commands. The suit, filed in Colorado U.S. District Court on Sept. 17, also names city and county officials.
On Sept. 17, 2019, Mistic was pulled over by police officers as he steered his Ford Escape into a parking lot after allegedly running through a stop sign. After emerging from his SUV, Mistic was ordered back in his car by officers Hanning and Summers, body camera footage of the incident obtained by Oxygen.com shows.
“You're gonna come up on us like that?” Hanning asked Mistic. “Excuse me, who do you think you are?"
Seconds later, Mistic, who in the video appeared to raise his hands in bewilderment, was tackled to the ground and tased twice.
“Arms behind your back right now or I’m going to tase you!” Summers, who was still in training at the time of the incident, shouted at Mistic.
Hanning's leg was broken during the incident, police said.
Police claimed Mistic violently resisted their attempts to detain him, according to their report on the incident. However, according to the suit, Mistic never threatened, fought, physically harmed, or forcibly resisted the two officers.
Mistic was handcuffed and charged with second-degree assault on a police officer. He was taken to a hospital to treat his injuries, which included a scalp abrasion and others sustained from the stun gun.
Then he was held in Clear Creek County jailhouse for four months.
Police said they found 24 counterfeit $100 bills containing Chinese symbols in Mistic’s wallet, according to a separate police report obtained by Oxygen.com. They said the serial number of one of the notes matched a counterfeit bill recently passed at a 7-11 in Douglas County. Mistic was slapped with an additional charge of possession of forged currency.
Former Idaho Springs Police Chief Christian Malanka later reviewed Mistic’s arrest and deemed the officers’ use of force was appropriate.
Mistic's criminal case was dismissed in July.
“The fact that the officer levied such serious charges against him, which caused Mr. Mistic to be jailed for approximately four months, is conscience-shocking,” Raymond K. Bryant, of the Civil Rights Litigation Group, told Oxygen.com on Friday. “The officers and the police chief who reviewed and approved the conduct should be ashamed.”
Lawyers for Mistic said he was disoriented and “blinded” by the police lights during the traffic stop and was unable to hear what was going on in the seconds before Hanning and Summers attacked him.
“The worst they allege is that Mr. Mistic pulled away when they grabbed at him without explanation. Even if there was a legitimate misunderstanding regarding his disability early on, the officers crossed the line of being ignorant to being cruel once they understood that he was deaf and could not possibly have had the knowledge or intent necessary to ‘resist arrest’ or ‘assault a police officer’ under the circumstances,” Bryant said.
According to his legal team, Mistic said, “no ears,” to the officers to communicate he is deaf. After being detained, the suit states, officers allegedly further degraded and humiliated Mistic by denying him a notepad and pen or other means to communicate. He was also denied an interpreter through his months-long county incarceration, civil court filings show.
Bryant was equally adamant that Mistic was not directly responsible for Hanning’s broken leg and that the police officer injured himself due to his own negligence.
“The officers falsely charged Mr. Mistic with causing the officer to break his leg while knowing that Brady did nothing to affirmatively contribute to the injury,” the attorney said. “Officer Hanning, in fact, caused the injury to himself during his angry mad rush to use force on Brady.”
Mistic’s lawyers also flatly denounced the notion that he’d been carrying counterfeit currency at the time of his 2019 arrest. They clarified that the supposedly counterfeit bills were “play money,” which they described as a “movie prop,” that he’d ordered online.
Mistic, a welder and HVAC technician, is originally from Minnesota; he is now attempting to rebuild his life, his attorney said.
“Mr. Mistic is currently looking for a job and attempting to recover after a stark period in his life where he didn’t know if he would be reincarcerated or otherwise would have a future after the arrest [and] prosecution,” Bryant added.
The City of Idaho Springs issued a statement following the civil case’s filing refusing to comment on the matter. It’s unclear if Hanning or Summers have retained legal counsel. The Idaho Springs Police Department didn’t respond to questions surrounding the case on Friday.
A representative for the Clear Creek County’s Board of County Commissioners wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted on Friday; the board has retained defense attorney William Thomas O'Connell III.
A scheduling conference in the case is set for Oct. 18 before Magistrate Judge Scott T. Varholak, according to court filings.
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