A man was arrested by the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) Sept. 7 after police responded to a domestic disturbance call. The suspect's girlfriend, Dianna Alvarado, claimed the arrest was "unnecessary" and involved an "excessive" use of force, but CSPD public information officer Lt. James Sokolik claims that officers had a legal obligation to make an arrest and that the suspect assaulted officers.
Two police cars, a firetruck and ambulance responded to the call at the Cottages at Sand Creek, a tiny home community near the intersection of Chelton Road and South Murray Boulevard.
“I called the police today so they could come out and defuse a situation with my boyfriend and I,” said Alvarado during a phone interview. “He didn’t hit me, he didn’t do anything. I just wanted them to defuse the situation because we were arguing.”
By the time police arrived, Alvarado said she and her boyfriend had resolved the situation. “They were calling me and I was telling them I was fine and they didn’t have to come out here,” she said. “They still decided to come out here and were sitting here for hours. They called me and they were like, ‘Look, we just want to talk to you, can you please come outside and talk to us? We just want to see if you’re OK and then we’ll leave.’ They said they were going to kick in my door if we didn’t open my door.
“So I go outside, and they’re looking at me and stuff. They ask, ‘Is he here? We just want to talk to him.’ So they come in and they start talking to him and stuff and then the girl police officer takes me on the other side [of the house], trying to talk to me, and we’re just talking. Next thing I know, they’re arresting him for no reason. He didn’t hit me, he didn’t do anything to me, why are you arresting him? He’s screaming ‘Why are you guys arresting me? I didn’t do anything.’”
According to Lt. Sokolik, officers are obligated to make arrests in cases of suspected domestic violence. “The law requires that if an officer has probable cause to make an arrest for domestic violence, or a crime of violence that is domestic-related, we must make that arrest,” he said. “We do not have the option to weigh whether the victim wants that arrest to occur. It is the state pressing those charges, not the victim. We have to make that arrest if there’s probable cause.”
Alvarado claims CSPD used more force than necessary during her boyfriend’s arrest. “They were being very excessive, throwing him inside of the cop car,” she said. “He was bleeding, he was scraped and stuff everywhere. He was screaming he couldn’t breathe. They pepper-sprayed him in the eyes. They were using excessive force. Very excessive. It wasn’t even necessary.”
Following the arrest, Alvarado claimed a restraining order was placed on her boyfriend. “He’s in jail. They said they were going to put a restraining order — I didn’t even ask for a restraining order — so he can’t contact me. Everything they did was so unnecessary. It makes no sense as to why they would do that. Especially if we didn’t need their help anymore. The way they treated him, they didn’t care.”
Sokolik said, "The suspect was arrested for assaulting the RP[Reporting Party, Alvarado] and obstruction of telephone services. He fought with officers, injuring two of them, and OC [pepper spray] was deployed to gain control of the suspect. He has been arrested for the additional charges of resisting arrest and 2nd degree assault on a peace officer."