A former Aurora police officer has been named in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court over an alleged assault on a 49-year-old disabled woman who was walking her small dog in an apartment complex. The lawsuit claims excessive force and that the woman’s civil rights were violated.
Douglas Harroun was arrested and charged with assault in connection with the January 11 incident. He resigned from the Aurora police station on January 30. An internal investigation is underway.
Wyoma Martinez, 49, who suffers from complex regional pain syndrome, was walking her dog when Harroun, who was off duty at the time, pulled up in a vehicle and began “revving his engine and coming dangerously close to hitting” Martinez, according to the lawsuit.
Harroun was “apparently frustrated” with Martinez, “who wasn’t moving fast enough” because of her disability, which became acute after a 2018 car accident, the complaint said. Martinez was trying to navigate an icy and snowy sidewalk at the time.
Harroun got out of his vehicle and “aggressively” berated Martinez, yelling in her face, the lawsuit said. Martinez told Harroun that she was disabled, that she carried a can of mace for protection, and that “he had to back up.”
Instead, according to the complaint, Harroun punched Martinez in the face, grabbed her by the arm, and knocked her to the ground. Harroun “continued to punch her several times in the face and neck as she cried out in pain and lay helpless on the floor.”
Bystanders intervened, yelled at Harroun, and called 911. Harroun pulled his badge and identified himself as an Aurora police officer, the complaint said, stating that Martinez was arrested and that she “went to jail.” Other officers arrived on the scene and Harroun was arrested. The assault case is still pending.
The lawsuit alleges that Harroun was not properly trained by the Aurora Police Department, that Harroun had been involved in a police shooting a month prior to the Martinez incident, and that officers had responded to a police report a week prior to the Harroun incident. “call to service”. Martinez incident. The city of Aurora is also named in the lawsuit.
“Harroun engaged in conduct — both while on duty among other officers and supervisors and in his private life — that rendered him unfit for duty and incapable of exercising reasonable discretion regarding the use of force,” the lawsuit alleges. .
Aurora police declined comment Friday, citing the internal affairs investigation and pending lawsuit filed Wednesday American court in Denver.
The lawsuit alleges that Harroun’s actions were based in part on Martinez being considered Hispanic, and that the incident was racially motivated. Inadequate police training “contributed” to Harroun’s use of “inappropriate and excessive force”.
Martinez was taken to a hospital after the incident, where she was treated and released. She sustained physical and emotional injuries and her 4th Amendment rightsto be free from excessive force, have been violated, according to the lawsuit.
The claim seeks “compensatory” amounts to be determined at trial, noting that Martinez suffered a loss of earnings and future earnings as a direct result of the incident.
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