Denver sergeant found not guilty of assault after hitting teenage suspect with metal baton

A Denver police sergeant charged with assaulting a teenager was found not guilty Wednesday by a Denver jury.

Sgt. Joseph Rodarte faced two charges of second-degree assault for using a metal baton to beat an unarmed teen who attempted to run from police. The teen suffered a broken leg, a broken nose and cuts on his face during the arrest, although Rodarte’s attorney argued that the officer’s use of the baton did not break the teen’s ankle.

“We are disappointed, but we respect the jury’s decision,” said Carolyn Tyler, a spokeswoman with the Denver district attorney’s office, which prosecuted the case.

The Denver Police Department released a short statement on the verdict and Rodarte’s status with the department.

“At this time, the Denver Police department will continue with the administrative review of the matter,” the statement said. “He will be placed in a non-line assignment pending the outcome of the internal review.”

Rodarte and other Denver police officers responded Aug. 22, 2018, to Ruby Hill Park after callers reported a man yelling obscenities near the park. While police searched the park, they received another call about a man with a gun chasing someone.

Officers later found the teen and chased him into the parking lot of an auto garage. Another officer tripped the teen, who fell on the ground but tried repeatedly to stand up, body camera footage played at a hearing showed. Rodarte then struck the teen with his baton six times, the video showed.

Early in the trial, Rodarte’s attorney, Chad Williams, said the officer gave the teen chances to surrender. But the teen continued to try to run, making Rodarte’s use of the baton necessary to take him into custody, Williams said.

The teen, then 17 years old, later told police that he was high on LSD that day and believed that the officers were demons.

Rodarte has been the subject of 20 use-of-force complaints during his 20 years at the Denver Police Department, although internal affairs cleared him of wrongdoing on all but one of those complaints.


Added:

By: ThisIsButter (36438.20)

Tags: Police, sergeant struck, teenage, baton

Location: Denver