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Councilwoman Says Denver Can Live With Latest Settlement Involving Police Force

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver City Council has approved another payout over an incident involving Denver police.

The city council agreed to a $50,000 payment to a woman who got injured when she was arrested in an apartment building, even though the police chief defended the officer's actions.

Patricia Lucero hadn't committed a crime, but officers were taking her to detox after a 911 hang up. During the arrest, Officer Marika Putnam slammed Lucero into a wall twice, which opened a wound on Lucero's head that required hospitalization.

"She already had me braced. She had no reason to hit me that hard, and all I saw was blood gushing down," Lucero said in a video taken from the hospital that shows her with a bloody face and a neck brace.

Patricia Lucero
Patricia Lucero in the hospital (credit; CBS)

The officer said Lucero was hurt because she was drunk and stumbling.

Last year Police Chief Robert White defended the officer's handling of the situation and cleared Putnam of any wrong doing.

"I looked that the totality of the circumstances, the investigation, everyone's statement, looking at the videos," White said. "I think the officer's actions were reasonable given the circumstances that she was confronted with."

A year ago the independent monitor said the officer should have been punished. That may have given attorneys for Lucero the leverage they needed to get the city to pay.

Patricia Lucero
An image of Patricia Lucero being escorted out of the apartment building (credit; CBS)

Many councilmembers still do not believe Putnam should be disciplined more.

"I believe that they were reprimanded to the extent that they could be, given the rules," Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman said.

The settlement came after a year the city paid millions in excessive force cases. Council members said they were told it was cheaper for the city to pay Lucero's settlement rather than fight the lawsuit, calling it "just a little settlement" by comparison.

"Is the settlement something the city can live with? So that is a common question that is asked," Susman said.

Susman said it was one they could live with.

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