COLORADO SPRINGS — A Woodland Park man is suing Teller County, Colorado Springs and several law enforcement officers after they tased him while trying to confiscate his phone without a warrant.
CJ Andersen is an honorably discharged Marine Corp veteran who served in combat in Afghanistan. Last year in April, his wife hit their 19-month-old daughter while backing out of the driveway.
David Lane, Andersen's lawyer, says the toddler was seriously injured and needed to be air lifted to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs for treatment. While at the hospital, the family was confronted by Teller County and Colorado Springs law enforcement officers who claimed to suspect there was evidence of a crime on Andersen’s wife's phone.
"The speculation was someone said there is an injured child, you better check out child abuse so for some reason they want the wife's cell phone," said Lane.
As Andersen stood by his daughter’s hospital crib in the pediatric intensive care unit, he had his wife's phone in his pants pocket.
According to the lawsuit, Teller County and Colorado Springs police officers entered the hospital room and attempted to unlawfully seize the phone from Andersen. He refused to hand over the phone, officers grabbed him by his wrists, threw him on the ground and tased him twice.
Lane says the officers arrested, questioned, and charged his client with resisting and obstructing. El Paso County later dismissed the charges. No child abuse charges were ever filed.
Now, Andersen has filed a lawsuit against Teller County, Colorado Springs, Vito Delcore, Todd Eckert, Carlos Sandoval and Anthony Matarazzo.
"The law says if we can prove that they have a custom pattern and practice of violating the constitution than the municipalities are on the hook," said Lane.
News 5 reached out to the Teller County Sheriff's Office for comment on the incident.
Mr Matarazzo did work at the sheriff's office at the date of this incident. He does not work for us at this time. We won't be commenting on pending litigation.
Adding his leave was unrelated to the incident with Andersen. The Colorado Springs Police Department also commented on the incident.
We appreciate KOAA News 5 reaching out to our organization to discuss this incident, but we are unable to speak on any matter that is under litigation.
Lane says his client filed the complaint because he believes the law enforcement officers overstepped. He wants them prosecuted, fired and more training for officers.
"I want those officers prosecuted, they assaulted a man for no reason. That's an assault with a weapon, they need to be prosecuted," says Lane. "Everybody talks about these police officers that kill people need to be fired, no they need to be prosecuted."
Andersen told News 5 that there was no evidence of child abuse. Teller County and Colorado Springs have about three weeks to answer the complaint.