Police falsely claimed Mr. Athanas was dangerous and conducted a military-style raid while he left the gym.
Chaffee County, CO — Late last year, police with the Chaffee County Combined Tactical Team conducted a military-style raid on Ellis Athanas, 30, based on the fact that he had a prior marijuana conviction when he was younger. During this raid on an innocent man, cops fired a flashbang grenade at his head.
Athanas was injured during the attack that unfolded in Sept. 2022 and is now suing multiple Colorado law enforcement agencies for their overzealous force that nearly killed an innocent man.
According to police, they claimed that Athanas’ prior conviction for pot — in a state with legal marijuana — made him “high risk.” So, instead of knocking on his door and serving him with a warrant or questioning him, cops followed Athanas to the gym and then pounced when he got in his truck to leave.
Athanas had an open warrant for alleged child abuse and menacing which was thrown out after his arrest when the court found no evidence of these crimes. What’s more, Athanas had already turned himself in for the pending charge, but police nonetheless used this as a reason to obtain a high-risk warrant.
As the Denver Post reports:
The tactical team tracked Athanas when he went to a gym on Sept. 8, then followed him as he drove home before conducting a “military-style” traffic stop, the lawsuit alleges. Police body camera footage shows several officers in full tactical gear rush out of the back of a police truck with their guns drawn, shouting and using a megaphone to tell Athanas to “put his hands on his face.”
Athanas put his hands out the window, but an officer, without warning, detonated a flash-and-sound diversionary device — colloquially known as a “flash-bang” — just outside the driver’s side window, the video shows. Four seconds elapsed from the time officers told Athanas to put his hands on his face to the detonation, the footage shows.
Athanas was then arrested, but later became nauseous, developed a severe headache and collapsed on the way to jail, according to the lawsuit. He was diagnosed with a concussion.
“This case is an alarming display of the militarization of the police in our country and a concerning lack of training on both dangerous weapon use by the police as well as the constitutional rights of the citizens they encounter,” said Kevin Mehr, Athanas’ attorney.
As stated above, all the charges against Athanas were dropped after no evidence could be produced to support the allegations making the entire military-style attack completely useless.
According to the lawsuit, a Chaffee County sheriff’s sergeant wrongly claimed that Athanas had a “pretty bad criminal history… like, kidnapping and different things, to justify the high-risk traffic stop. Despite this being a bald-faced lie, the sergeant also boasted about “rolling the SWAT team on his ass.”
Highlighting that Athanas was not a risk was that days before the SWAT traffic stop, Athanas had turned himself in on a previous charge.
“Defendants allegedly completed a SWAT deployment worksheet, ad claim that the score met the threshold for such action. However, discovery provided only shows an incomplete worksheet that does not appear to accurately reflect Mr. Athanas’ actual criminal history,” the lawsuit reads.
Luckily for Athanas, though he was injured from the blast, he was not permanently disfigured like Baby Bou who cannot say the same. Below is that disturbing video.
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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