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Brad Mitchell, Scarlet Ranch bartender, latest to allege excessive force by Denver Police officers

There are no shortage of excessive-force complaints against Denver Police officers these days, as our reporting about cases involving Michael DeHerrera, Alex Landau, Nick Lynch and others demonstrates. The latest? A threatened lawsuit by Scarlet Ranch bartender Brad Mitchell, who claims cops slammed him to the ground without provocation, and supports his assertions with video.

The story comes to us from CBS4's Brian Maass, who obtained surveillance video of a raid on the Scarlet Ranch, a swingers club, last May. In the clip, on view below, Mitchell can be seen being pulled to his feet from a sitting position on the floor, then put into a chokehold and taken down. Mitchell insists he did nothing to instigate this response. Denver Police counter that Mitchell attempted to pull away and was resistant -- and an ex-Denver cop questioned by Maass agrees with the DPD position, although he concedes that footage of the incident "looks bad."

Westword readers will be familiar with the Scarlet Ranch from our 2006 feature "Swap Talk," which detailed a swinging feud between Scarlet Ranch owner Kendall Seifert and Scottie Ewing, onetime owner of a club dubbed Sindicate. Last September, Ewing pleaded guilty to tax evasion in relation to Denver Players/Sugar -- operations run through Sindicate Media that prosecutors described as prostitution businesses.

Seifert's style is very different from Ewing's. Last September, he sent out an e-mail seeking investors for Scarlet Ranch, which he said was entering a new era. And instead of hiding from CBS4's cameras, he takes the spotlight, defending Mitchell in the clip below.

Even if Mitchell moves forward with his suit, there's no guarantee he'll succeed in court. Lynch's initial complaint was rebuffed, although his attorney promises that the fight will go on, and Denver cop and ex-American Gladiators contestant Vicki Ferrari recently won the day in an excessive-force beef lodged by a manager at a Grease Monkey.

Still, the accretion of accusations can't please members of the Denver Police Department. Here's CBS4's report:

More from our News archive: "Abbe Dorn: Pics of Denver cop & ex-American Gladiator contestant being sued for brutality."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts