A Broomfield, Colorado man suffering from a schizoaffective disorder was shot and killed by Broomfield police after pointing a toy gun at the officer. In Broomfield, Arapahoe, and Adams County, Colorado, a person who threatens a peace officer with a deadly weapon with the intent to cause the officer serious bodily injury can be charged with First Degree Assault (C.R.S. 18-3-202). Additionally, the Aurora, Thornton or Westminster police may use reasonable force to defend themselves against an imminent use of force against them (C.R.S. 18-1-707).
In this case, it is unclear as to whether the Broomfield police officer’s actions were reasonable. The family of this mentally ill man had called 911 because they believed he was going to harm himself. When speaking to the 911 dispatcher, the family told them that their son was in possession of a toy gun, and that it was not a real gun, only plastic. Whether that message was conveyed to police officers on the scene of the incident remains to be seen. Additionally, police had interacted with this young man several times before, and were aware of his mental illness.
This tragic situation highlights the fact that law enforcement is broken in many ways. Not only does it show a lack of understanding by police regarding the issues of the mentally ill, it shows what can happen when 911 fails to properly communicate with the Denver, Golden, or Lakewood police. At the O’Malley Law Office, we see many cases where the police end up arresting or charging a person with a crime when they are the ones who have called the police for help. This is especially true in Domestic Violence cases (C.R.S. 18-6-801), because of Colorado’s mandatory arrest law. For example, we have had clients who call the police to get a violent partner out of their home and they end up being charged with Assault or Harassment (C.R.S. 18-9-11) because they pushed the violent partner while trying to get them to leave.
If you have called law enforcement in Douglas, Jefferson, or Denver County, Colorado, looking for help, and instead have been charged with a crime such as Assault or Harassment, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate for your rights. The police have an incredible amount of power, and we will make sure that they are held to the standards imposed on them by the law. If you are contacted by the Centennial, Northglenn, or Greeley police, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call the O’Malley Law Office today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.