Watch CBS News

Civil rights lawsuit filed against Denver Police Department after former officer body-slammed man during 2023 Nuggets celebration

Civil rights lawsuit filed against DPD after former officer slammed man during Nuggets celebration
Civil rights lawsuit filed against DPD after former officer slammed man during Nuggets celebration 02:47

A civil rights lawsuit was filed against the Denver Police Department after a former officer body-slammed a man during the 2023 Nuggets celebration. The incident happened at Hayter's & Co. Bar at 1920 Blake Street in Denver on June 12, 2023. 

According to the DA's office, former Denver Police Officer Adam Glasby and another Denver police officer were working an off-duty assignment when they witnessed a group of men fighting outside the bar. 

Adam Glasby Denver DA

While Glasby was attempting to break up the fight, he pulled one of the men away and body-slammed the victim to the pavement. The victim, who was later identified as Elijah Smith, 26, was unconscious, while Glasby stayed with him and tried to render aid. 

When the victim woke up, he was walked away by his friends. 

"It kind of replays how I felt with the ringing in my ears, my vision going white with lines," Smith said as he recalled the night the incident happened with CBS News Colorado Reporter Karen Morfitt

Denver police officer being investigated for body slamming man 03:19

Glasby, 39, was eventually charged with one felony count of second-degree assault with intent to cause serious bodily injury

The Denver Police Department also opened an internal affairs investigation after Smith filed a complaint against the department. Glasby was then placed on a non-patrol assignment at the time. 

Smith told CBS News Colorado that he suffered a brain bleed and as a result he wears sunglasses to help with light sensitivity and uses a cane because of balance issues. 

RELATED: DPD officer charged with assault after body-slamming man


CBS News Colorado Reporter Gabriela Vidal spoke with Smith after the civil rights lawsuit was filed, as he expressed the emotional scars that still haunt him one year after the incident. 

"All of a sudden, I just feel my body being lifted in the air and being slammed on the ground," said Smith. "My vision, just everything just went black. I couldn't hear anything, and I felt like I was dying."

However, Smith says it is his mental health that has been the hardest to overcome from that night.

"Just doing the simple things with my kids. Not having to worry about going out in public," Smith said. "And I'm always keeping an eye over my shoulder. I feel like I'm almost too aware."


Now that a civil rights lawsuit has been filed, Smith is hoping that Glasby, the city and county of Denver, and Hayters and Co. are held accountable for the impact this incident has had on his life. 

So far, only Glasby has faced any discipline since the incident after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault. He also lost his state certification to work in law enforcement as a result.

"What this lawsuit does that the criminal case couldn't do, is that it holds Denver accountable," said Mari Newman, Smith's attorney. "It says to Denver, you must change your training, you must hold officers accountable. You must adequately discipline people. You need to supervise them to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody else."


For Smith, this lawsuit is a step toward making sure other officers are better trained to protect and keep people safe so this kind of incident does not happen again.

"Luckily, we had the recording, and I can thank the person who reported that," Smith said. "Because without that, I felt like he probably would have still had his job."

CBS News Colorado reached out to the DPD, but a spokesperson issued a response that declined to comment on the pending litigation:

Glasby resigned from the department on May 2, 2024, and the department will continue and complete its Internal Affairs investigation into this incident per policy.

Hayters and Co. also has not yet responded to a request for comment.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.