Another day, another cash payout for alleged law-enforcement brutality. This time, it's Adams County agreeing to fork over $20,000 after a deputy took down career criminal Mario Ybarra while trying to fingerprint him. And although attorney David Lane is happy to accept the money, he's upset that such incidents keep happening with no punishment for those involved and no apparent improvements in the system as a whole.
As reported by CBS4, which obtained video pertaining to the matter (it's on view below), Ybarra, 45, was being fingerprinted on January 22 at Adams County Jail when he mouthed off to the deputies processing him.
The package aired by the outlet doesn't name the law-enforcers involved -- something that irritates Lane. However, an incident report shared by the station names them as Deputy Jimmy Marshall and Deputy MIchael Soto and reveals the sort of details not deemed broadcast-worthy.
According to Marshall's narrative, he and Soto were with Ybarra in the mug-shot-photo area attempting to take his fingerprint when the prisoner allegedly slapped the device and said, "Fuck this fingerprint machine and fuck you, too."
Soto's memory of the dialogue is a bit different. After the fingerprint machine malfunctioned, he states in his notes, Ybarra hit the device and declared, "Your fucking machine doesn't work." But both agree that Ybarra appeared to step away from the machine, at which point Marshall grabbed him by the shirt collar and took him to the ground, resulting in a struggle that was later joined by numerous other jail personnel.
Problem is, video of the incident doesn't back up the deputies' assertions and Ybarra's movements.
Page down to watch the video and get more of Lane's take on the Mario Ybarra incident. "It's crystal clear that false reports were filed," Lane says, noting that Ybarra "didn't flinch" in the raw video accessible below. "He didn't move a muscle before they jumped him. Mario admits that he was giving the cop a bit of grief for his lack of ability to get his fingerprints, and the cops just got pissed off and thumped him."
Presumably, Adams County officials came to the same conclusion, because they agreed to the $20,000 payout before a lawsuit was filed. Lane sees such deals as a service he provides.
"I always give the city or the county the opportunity to get out early, get out quick, get out cheap," he says. "The pain will only increase as time passes."
The eventual settlement was quite modest as these things go. Lane felt like he couldn't swing for the fences because "Mario didn't have any real injuries," and as an assistant county attorney told CBS4 via e-mail, the $20,000 payout prevents possible legal costs that could run much higher. But Lane says none of the deputies involved have been disciplined despite having lied on police reports -- the same offense for which Denver Police Detective Jay Estrada was fired last year, only to be reinstated this week.
The state of affairs that allows such actions leaves Lane feeling exasperated. "Should these cops be fired for beating people up?" he asks. "What the hell is wrong with you people? Of course they should be fired. They should be prosecuted and incarcerated. It's a felony! I keep saying this, but I want to see a citizens' torchlight parade to the steps of City Hall demanding that something be done about brutal cops and lying cops."
Why isn't there more outrage? Lane doesn't have an answer. "These settlements are putting my children through college, and if they want to keep spending their money this way, okay, I'm here to take it. But I'm a taxpayer, too, and this is absurd.
"The reason this keeps happening is because it doesn't cost the cops a dime out of their own pocket, and there's never any discipline imposed. As far as the cops are concerned, it's like, 'So what if Adams County paid $20,000. They're not going to punish me, not going to discipline me, so who gives a shit?' And the taxpayers obviously don't give a shit, because nobody's demanding change."
Here are the aforementioned incident reports.
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