Bodycams captured man’s arrest; now Denver PD faces excessive force lawsuit

Denver resident Justin Lecheminant claims police officers used excessive force during his arrest last year, according to his attorney Chris Decker.

Photos of Lecheminant in the aftermath show his scarred, bloody face with swollen, blackened eyes. He suffered a broken nose, punctured ear drum and concussion, according to a lawsuit Lecheminant filed against the police department.

“This is a man who was absolutely pummeled, absolutely pummeled,” Decker told KDVR.

Police arrested Lecheminant after a traffic stop went awry on Jan. 2, 2019. Decker said Lecheminant was pulled over for driving without lights.

Bodycam footage appears to show Cpl. Daniel Felkins asking Lecheminant if he has been drinking.

“I have not. I’m about to start but I have not been drinking, I promise.” Lecheminant responded.

Felkins asked Lecheminant to step out of the car, but he refused and drove away. Police still had possession of Lecheminant’s driver’s license, so they just met him as soon as he arrived home.

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A struggle broke out by a gate near the man’s yard.

The video appears to show Lecheminant shouting at Officer Robert Blanc that he is on private property. Blanc ordered him to the ground and warned him several times he would be tased if he didn’t comply.

Police fired the taser once, but let up to order Lecheminant to the ground again. The video appears to show officers using the taser a second time when he still didn’t comply.

Lecheminant then appears to remove the prongs from his chest, which is when Blanc tackled him.

Denver mug final

According to his lawsuit, Justin Lecheminant suffered a broken nose, a punctured ear drum and a concussion at the hands of Denver police officers. (Source: Decker & Jones Law)

“They beat the hell out of him and they beat the hell out of him because they got their feelings hurt and he didn’t comply — not because he was a threat, not because he was resisting, not because he was violent against them,” Decker claimed.

The bodycam picks up audio of someone saying, “This is what happens when you elude police, dude.” 

Sonny Jackson, a spokesperson from Denver police said the department would not comment on pending litigation, but said all use of force incidents are reviewed by Internal Affairs.

“No further investigation was opened following the Use of Force review,” Jackson told KDVR.

Even so, Tiffany Drahota — another one of Lecheminant’s lawyers —  called the department’s investigation a “haphazard sham” that lacked fact-finding. She said Internal Affairs never interviewed Lecheminant and Blanc was never placed on leave.

Lecheminant pleaded guilty to obstruction and felony eluding. But initially, he faced a charge of assaulting an officer.

Denver’s district attorney later threw that charge out.

This story was reported from Atlanta.