NewsCovering Colorado


City Council approves city settlement after K-9 officer attacks bystander

Posted at 1:51 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-29 15:57:45-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Colorado Springs City Council approved the release of funds Tuesday in an ongoing settlement between Jason Shelton and the City of Colorado Springs following an excessive force lawsuit against the City and a member of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

In the settlement, Shelton claims he was an innocent bystander who was wrongfully attacked and targeted by a Colorado Springs Police K-9 in 2021. In the federal lawsuit filed by Shelton and his attorneys, they call for a trial by jury in the case against the City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs K-9 Officer Alan Radke.

In court documents obtained by News5, the incident took place on the night of June 20th, 2021. Two CSPD Officers were responding to a burglary call that occurred earlier at 3510 Galley Rd.

While responding, Officer Downs and Officer Radke said they saw a man run out of the building. Officer Downs began yelling for the man to stop with Officer Radke following with K-9 Ozzie in hand.

The lawsuit states Jason Shelton was riding his bike along Galley Road when his bike chain came loose causing him to fix it,. That is when Mr. Shelton said he saw that same man Officer Downs and Radke were chasing run across Galley Road into a wooded area. The lawsuit says it is at this point Officer Radke and Ozzie stopped their chase with Officer Downs and turned their attention toward Shelton.

The lawsuit states, "Officer Downs called out, 'down there, down there!', telling Defendant Radke that the single suspect they were chasing had gone into a treed area just past the sidewalk. Defendant Radke did not listen to her. This was because he had spotted Mr. Shelton. Mr. Shelton had nothing to do with the burglary. He was just riding by on his bike. Without any legal basis, Defendant Radke changed direction and began to chase Mr. Shelton, who had gotten his chain back on his bicycle and was continuing riding down Galley Road. Officer Downs called out to Defendant Radke again, yelling, 'No, he’s down here!' Defendant Radke did not listen. Instead, he continued his pursuit of Mr. Shelton."

According to court documents, Officer Radke did not call out for Shelton to freeze as he was trying to leave the scene, identify himself as a police officer, and furthermore did not announce the release of K-9 Ozzie. Under CSPD policy K-9 Officers must give an audible warning before the release of the animal.

Despite Shelton not being the suspect, or a suspect associated with the scene, Officer Radke released K-9 Ozzie after Shelton.

The court documents state, "At that time, a reasonable officer would have known that: (a) he had seen only one subject exit the building, (b) Officer Downs had chased that subject into the treed area off the side of Galley Road, (c) Officer Downs had yelled that the subject they were chasing was in the treed area, and (d) Officer Downs had yelled to him that he was chasing the wrong person."

Police worn body camera video shows Ozzie proceeded to grab Shelton by the arm, dragging him off his bike in the middle of Galley Road. That same body camera footage shows K-9 Ozzie continuing to attack Shelton until officers caught up and placed Shelton in handcuffs a full minute after the initial bite.

Shelton claims he suffered more injuries at the time of his apprehension as both his legs were run over by a vehicle passing by while K-9 Ozzie dragged him into the middle of Galley Road.

Body camera footage in moments following the scene show Officer Radke saying to other officers, "see, this is why you stay in the military. So when you f—- up, you have a backup job,“ said Radke.

Despite Shelton not being at the scene of the burglary, Officer Radke still charged Shelton with obstructing a peace officer.

Tuesday, city council agreed to settle Shelton's federal lawsuit for a total of $175,000 out of the taxpayer-funded claims reserve fund. The agreement between the city and Shelton and his attorneys is not finalized yet.

This is not the first time the City has settled an excessive force case associated with a K-9. In 2021 the City of Colorado Springs agreed to pay $190,000 to another individual who sued the city over its use of K-9 Officers.

News5 has reached out to the Colorado Springs Police Department and Shelton's attorneys, but neither could comment on the matter as it is an ongoing lawsuit. Officer Radke is still a K-9 handler with the department.

Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.