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Excessive Force Lawsuit Names Federal Heights Chief, Officers

By Tom Mustin

FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. (CBS4)- The Federal Heights chief of police and two officers have been named in a federal lawsuit. The complaint sites a pattern of excessive force and lack of training and supervision.

Body cam video from last December shows the alleged torture of 49-year-old Kent Lasnik. The video is the basis for a new federal lawsuit against Federal Heights police Officers Mark Magness and David Romero.

"He got the living daylights beaten out of him in a holding cell, attorney Matthew Cron told CBS4's Tom Mustin.

CBS4's Tom Mustin interviews attorney Matthew Cron (credit: CBS)

Lasnik had been arrested for allegedly assaulting a liquor store clerk. Video shows Lasnik handcuffed and bloody, repeatedly hit by Magness, as he repeatedly tries to apologize.

"They threw him in to a restraint chair and proceeded to torture him," said Cron.

In the cell, Lasnik is seen lunging at Magness and is beaten senseless. Cron says Lasnik was simply protecting himself.

Lasnik, bloody and in pain tries to apologize as he is placed in a restraining chair, while Magness screams profanities at him and squeezes his neck.

The lawsuit claims Romero failed to stop the assault and wrote a false report. The suit also names Federal Heights Police Chief Karl Wilmes for failing to supervise and train.

Cron says officer Magness had a history of excessive force accusations, including an incident where he dislocated a man's elbow but was allowed to slide.

Magness was eventually fired for the Lasnik incident but Cron says that was only because the beating was caught on tape.

"Police departments don't hold their officers accountable when they use excessive force," said Cron.

federal heights
(credit: CBS)

Mustin responded by saying," He was fired, is that not accountable enough?"

Cron replied, "He was fired in this case only because there was video evidence."

Cron says his client is seeking money and policy changes, but the real the goal is justice, "The bottom line is they should be held accountable."

The Federal Heights Police Department has not commented on the case.

Tom Mustin is CBS4's Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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