The Larimer County District Attorney's Office announced Friday it will not press charges against a Larimer County deputy who tased a man on Interstate 25. That man was then struck and killed by a car traveling down the interstate.
It happened earlier this year on the night of Feb. 18. Following a quick suspicious vehicle investigation, Larimer County Sheriff's Deputy Lorenzo Lujan pulled over 28-year-old Brent Thompson on the northbound ramp of I-25 near Mountain Vista Drive in northeastern Fort Collins around 9:15 p.m.
Thompson gave the deputy a false name, according to the DA, and the deputy came back to the car and told Thompson he knew that wasn't his name. Just as he was being arrested Thompson fled, running toward I-25. He climbed over a barricade and Lujan tased Thompson when he caught up to him.
Thompson was then run over and killed by a passing car. The DA called Lugan's "failure to fully assess the imminent threat of oncoming highway traffic" when deploying the taser a lapse in judgment.
Authorities later found drugs in Thompson's vehicle.
Sheriff's office faces lawsuit
The sheriff's office is now facing a lawsuit as a result of the death. Civil rights attorneys representing Thompson's family say this is a case of negligent homicide.
"When you tase someone on a highway, it is a death sentence. It is by definition," said attorney Siddhartha Rathod of Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC. "You know what is going to happen, and that is that they are going to be run over by a car."
Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC is the law firm representing the families of other people killed in high-profile deaths involving police, including the families ofand . Rathod says none of this should have happened.
"This isn't even the type of situation where the officer should chase someone. He knew who he was. It was a ticketable offense. It was a traffic violation," Rathod told CBS News Colorado. "And chasing someone onto I-25 alone is dangerous enough. It's dangerous for drivers. But tazing someone on I-25 is insane and it's criminal."
Rathod's office will be filing a civil lawsuit against the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, he said.
"I would rather be parked on a railroad track," Rathod said, referencingwho put a handcuffed woman in the back of his cruiser, which he parked on train tracks before it was struck. "Putting someone in the car on railroad tracks is not even close to this. A train comes by every 15 minutes to every couple hours. Cars come by on the highway every couple seconds."
District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin stated in a letter released to the public on Friday "I conclude that there is no reasonable likelihood of success in proving unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that Deputy Lorenzo Lujan is criminally culpable for his attempt to effect the arrest of Brent Thompson."
"The District Attorney for Larimer County is giving the police officer a pass," Rathod said. "They are holding the police to a different standard than the public. You cannot hear the facts of this case or watch the video and come to any other conclusion than the fact that this is criminal," referring to body cam video of the situation which so far hasn't been released.
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