A blind man who suffered mild head trauma from a Denver police officer’s take-down won his excessive force lawsuit against the officer this October. The incident involved then-77-year-old Philip White of Eagle, CO, and occurred three years ago on May 22, 2012 at the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Denver, according to The Denver Post.
“We are very gratified that the jury recognized that Denver police Officer Chafin engaged in excessive force,” said White’s attorney Darold Killmer. “The police officer’s aggressive, bullying response was inexcusable. He bloodied and brutalized an elderly disabled man who never in his 77 years had any run-ins with police.”
According to Killmer, White was trying to make his way back to Eagle from a conference on technical advancements to assist the blind in Denver when the incident occurred. He found out the bus that he had planned to take to Vail, and then transfer to a van to Eagle, was full. White tried to discuss options with staff employees at the terminal but reportedly was eventually told by a security officer he was “trespassing” and was asked to leave.
White refused to leave, so the security personnel called the Denver Police Department. One of those twho responded was Officer Kyllion Chafin.
When Chafin got there, White was actually on the phone with 911 asking for assistance in the matter. White asked Chafin if he could touch his badge, a way for the blind man to verify he was an officer, but Chafin refused.
Instead, Chafin grabbed White’s arms behind his back as if to arrest him and pushed him forward, which resulted in him slamming his head against a ticket booth. White, now bleeding from the head, was handcuffed, brought to a jail cell for eight hours, and eventually released without any charges.
The case has been ongoing for a while, but finally justice was served. The federal jury that heard the case awarded White $400,000 in damages, $100,000 in compensatory and $300,000 in punitive. It’s unclear if that settlement will be paid out in a lump sum or annuity.
The Denver Police Department conducted an internal investigation, but nothing came from it.
“We respect the court and we respect the jury’s decision,” said Sonny Jackson, a police spokesman. “We reviewed the case. We didn’t find any violations of policy. We are always looking for ways to improve.”