City answers suit, denies wrongdoing by police |

City answers suit, denies wrongdoing by police

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – An attorney representing the city of Glenwood Springs denied claims in a lawsuit filed by two local teenagers alleging that police here violated their civil rights.

Self defense, probable cause and immunity from suit are three of the “affirmative defenses” being employed in the city’s July 28 answer to the teens’ lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver.

The defenses were among 10 affirmative defenses listed in the city’s answer to a lawsuit brought by Scott Fishbein, 14, and Aaron Hughes, 15, on June 13.

The two teens claim that on Aug. 15, 2002, three Glenwood Springs police officers burst into the Fishbein home, where Scott Fishbein and Hughes were playing video games. It alleges the officers then pointed guns at the boys’ heads.

The incident came while police were arresting Scott Fishbein’s parents, Mark and Shelley Fishbein, on an allegation of threatening a man with a gun and using racial slurs.

Shelley Fishbein was never formally charged, and charges against Mark Fishbein were dropped by the 9th District Attorney’s Office on July 15 because of the lack of cooperation by the reputed victim.

The suit alleges that police entered the home without a search warrant and ignored pleas by Scott Fishbein’s mother, who said, “Don’t go in there,” and, “There’s kids in there.”

Along with the already stated defenses, the city’s answer reserves the right to assert other defenses “as discovery and investigation are accomplished.”

Bernard Woessner, the Denver attorney representing the city in the suit, was out of his office and unavailable for comment on Friday.

The teens’ attorney, Ted Hess of Glenwood Springs, released a written statement on the city’s answer.

“Speaking through its Denver attorneys, the city denied its police officers violated the 4th Amendment rights of the teens or Shelley or Mark Fishbein,” he wrote, referring to Scott Fishbein’s parents.

Hess said he’s “disappointed by the city’s answer, because it did not bring the case any closer to discovering why the police decided to enter the home.

“Instead, the lawyers for the city raised 15 defenses including self-defense, immunity from suit and blaming the teens,” he wrote. “I had hoped the city’s answer would have been based on a real inquiry into the matter, but there is no evidence of that.”

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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