DENVER – Buena Vista police officer Shane Garcia is being sued for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of a man he arrested two years ago.
Nicholas Lazzaro filed the lawsuit July 3 in Denver at the U.S. District Court for Colorado. He is represented by Raymond Bryant, a civil rights attorney in Denver.
The lawsuit claims Garcia violated the constitutional rights against unlawful detention and arrest, excessive force and retaliation.
The case “concerns a police officer’s retaliatory abuse of police authority when he approached an innocent man who was docilely smoking in front of a gas station, asked the man to talk and reacted with violence when the man declined,” the 10-page lawsuit asserts.
It goes on to allege that Garcia “grabbed Mr. Lazzaro by the arm, swung him violently to the pavement,” injuring him.
Lazzaro alleges the officer didn’t tell him why Garcia contacted him or why the officer wanted them to talk.
The incident occurred July 4, 2017, outside a gas station where Lazzaro and his female companion had stopped
The lawsuit states that the officer had received a call about a possible domestic disturbance near the station. After viewing the gas station’s video and talking with Lazzaro’s companion, Garcia concluded no crime had occurred, according to the lawsuit.
In the meantime, he charged Lazzaro with resisting arrest. “The prosecutor dismissed the charges once the video (from Garcia’s body camera and from the station) revealed that the officer prematurely and provocatively used force against a nonthreatening person,” the lawsuit asserts.
Lazzaro wants a trial for a jury verdict in his favor and for jurors to determine how much money he should receive to compensate him for what occurred.
After the lawsuit is served on Garcia, he is required by federal court rules to file in court a response stating his side of the dispute.