Joshua Sands was enjoying his daily slice of pizza at a Brighton Target store when he was tackled by police officers and tased twice.
The officers came to the store after an employee called police mistakenly thinking Sands, 25, was the suspect wanted for a murder in Wyoming. The actual suspect, Trevor Lee Sanford, had been arrested hours earlier by Westminster police.
The Brighton Police Department paid Sands a $50,000 settlement, said Sands’ attorney David Lane.
“The cops couldn’t be bothered to check by making one radio call,” Lane said Wednesday. “If police are going to be lazy, hopefully they’ll know that there is a price that’s going to be paid.”
News about the settlement was first reported by KCNC-Channel 4.
A Brighton police representative could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
The case of mistaken identity happened on April 4, after Sanford’s mug shot had been broadcast in Denver. Sanford, who has since pleaded guilty to the murder of Marilyn “Kay” Dlugosh in Laramie, was on the run at the time.
But in the early morning hours of April 4, 2017, Westminster police arrested Sanford and he was in jail when a Target employee spotted Sands, Lane said.
As part of a daily routine, Sands rode buses to different parts of Brighton to say hello and speak with friends. He ended every day at the Pizza Hut restaurant inside Target, Lane said.
While Sands was eating, several Brighton officers snuck up behind him. Sands struggled when the officers grabbed him, so one of them tased him twice, Lane said. “It was very painful. It just shook him up in a major way.”
Officers quickly realized that Sands, who has severe autism, was disabled. Lane said Sands started crying, told the officers he didn’t have anything to do with a murder in Wyoming and that if they didn’t believe him they could call his grandma.
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The officers then learned Sanford was already in custody.
They released Sands and offered him a ride home. He refused and instead took the bus, Lane said.
“He’s now afraid of cops and to ride his bus route in Brighton,” Lane said.
Sanford pleaded guilty …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – News