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Lawsuit claims excessive force by Ignacio police

By Carole McWilliams
Pine River Times

An excessive force claim against two Ignacio police officers is making its way through Federal District Court in Denver.

The civil lawsuit was filed March 12 by Felipe Rubio against Ignacio Police Department officers Jeremiah Mason and Tyler Phillips. Rubio is seeking a jury trial and award of general, compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages plus attorney fees and costs.

The lawsuit is based on an incident on March 16 or 17, 2013. It alleges that Mason and Phillips arrested Rubio and took him into Town Hall with his hands cuffed behind his back.

It alleges that Mason kicked Rubio’s right leg and broke it, sending him to the ground, then left him on the floor in severe pain for about 20 to 30 minutes before calling an ambulance, apparently waiting because the ambulance would have cost the town money.

The lawsuit alleges that Phillips did nothing to intervene or help Rubio, and that he and Mason then wrote a false incident report claiming that Rubio was already on the floor, tried to kick Mason and missed, and broke his leg when it hit the corner of a sink cabinet.

The lawsuit alleges that before they wrote that report, they told the responding emergency medical technician what had actually happened, and the EMT included that in his prehospital care report.

Rubio suffered a spiral fracture of the large lower leg bone, the tibia. It was repaired with a rod running the full length of the bone, held by two pins at each end.

The lawsuit alleges violations of Rubio’s civil rights under the Fourth and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Rubio is represented by a Denver law firm, Holland, Holland Edwards & Grossman.

Attorney John Holland told the Pine River Times last week that the case is moving through standard procedural items. The defendants filed a response denying the claims. Depositions now are being taken.

According to information from a federal court clerk, the case is scheduled for a pretrial conference in May.

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