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Victim Claims Graphic Video Shows Excessive Force By Police

LA JUNTA, Colo. (CBS4)- Graphic video has been released that shows what a victim and his lawyer claim to be excessive force by La Junta police officers.

The video shows officers taking down Donovan Duran in December 2015. Duran remains paralyzed. He was an aspiring MMA fighter before the encounter.

La Junta Police Sgt. Vince Fraker and Officer John McMillan were allegedly taking Donovan Duran to the Arkansas Valley Medical Center after being arrested for public intoxication.

Body camera footage shows the moment officers threw Duran out of his SUV and onto the ground. The officers then drag him across the parking lot and demand that he stop resisting. Then Fraker can be seen throwing Duran into a wheelchair and slamming him backward.

Video shows Donovan Duran with La Junta police officers (credit: Donovan Duran)

"He was handcuffed. His hands were behind his back and even at that point he was not a threat," said Duran's attorney Edward Lomena.

According to hospital records released by Duran's attorney, the officers ordered Duran to be restrained by his arms and legs to a stretcher. He was placed in an unstaffed room and the officers left without explanation and without filing a report. There is also no record of the arrest.

Donovan Duran1
Donovan Duran (credit: CBS)

Duran says while he was handcuffed he began experiencing excruciating pain in his back and called for help, but no one came to help. He says when medical staff attended to him he was stood up and immediately collapsed under his weight before he was taken in for x-rays. Doctors found damage to his spine. He is paralyzed below the waist and has lost full function in his hands.

"I finally started feeling weaker and weaker and my neck started hurting," said Duran in a previous interview with CBS4. "I knew something was wrong and I told them I couldn't move. They didn't believe me. The doctor lifted me up and I fell to the floor and my legs went in different directions."

The video was released after a special prosecutor failed to bring charges against the officers after a grand jury investigation.

"I am shocked and disturbed. As you can see even from the beginning he was not under arrest. He had committed no crimes. They were called so he could sober up," said Lomena.

The officers were placed on administrative leave but there was no further discipline. Duran's attorneys have field a civil lawsuit against the officer and the City of La Junta in federal court. They do not believe they can get a fair trial in the small town.

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