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Colorado deputies charged with multiple crimes for 2022 tasing of grandfather

Las Animas deputies criminally charged for 2022 tasing of grandfather
Las Animas deputies criminally charged for 2022 tasing of grandfather 00:39

Two Colorado sheriff's deputies have been criminally charged for tasing a grandfather dozens of times in Las Animas County in 2022.

The sheriff's office settled a civil lawsuit brought by Kenneth Espinoza over the incident for $1.5 million and the deputies were fired in September of last year. Now former Las Animas Sheriff's Deputies Henry Trujillo and Mikhail Noel are facing criminal charges for their handling of a traffic stop.

Both are charged with third-degree assault, failure of a peace officer to intervene, official misconduct, official oppression and menacing -- all misdemeanors -- but if they're convicted of the assault, misconduct, oppression or failure to intervene charges, they could no longer be police officers in Colorado.

Espinoza's attorney is glad the former deputies have been charged, but expressed disappointment that none of the charges are felonies.

"While we are pleased to see that, after over a year, the District Attorney's Office is finally taking action, this is far from justice," said attorney Kevin Mehr said in a statement Monday. "These men brutalized Kenneth Espinoza. They drug him out of his car in broad daylight, they struck him, slammed his leg in a car door, pointed guns at him, tased him multiple times in the body and tased him in the face. The facts clearly support numerous felony charges and it is disappointing to see these officers continue to be treated differently than ordinary citizens."

The deputies' attorneys did not immediately respond to voicemails seeking comment Monday afternoon. They're due in court on July 24.

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