Lawsuit alleges GSPD civil rights violations
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Two teens filed a lawsuit Friday against the Glenwood Springs Police Department, alleging civil rights violations by several police officers. The action was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver.
Scott Fishbein, 14, and Aaron Hughes, 15, claim in their suit that on Aug. 15, 2002, three officers burst into Fishbein’s downtown home, where he and Hughes were playing video games. The suit alleges the officers then pointed guns at the boys’ heads.
The boys’ suit claims police entered the home without a search warrant and ignored pleas by Scott Fishbein’s mother, who told the officers, “Don’t go in there,” and, “There’s kids in there.”
The suit names police chief Terry Wilson, Lt. Bill Kimminau, for Sgt. Timothy Templon, now Garfield County undersheriff, Sgt. Neil Wagstrom, officer Chris Danielson, officer Brian Keiter, officer Matt Hagberry and officer Aaron Munch as defendants in both their personal and official capacities.
The boys’ Glenwood Springs attorney, Ted Hess, said there are three claims in the suit.
The first claim alleges “unconstitutional intrusion into the home.” The second claim alleges the “false arrest of Scott Fishbein’s mother,” Shelley Fishbein. The third claim alleges “failure to adequately train Glenwood Springs police officers to respect people’s homes and personal integrity.”
“The officers really had their adrenaline going,” Hess said. “The Constitution requires and their training should have told them that if there’s something in the house, go get a warrant.”
Glenwood Springs city attorney Karl Hanlon said the city has not yet formally received the lawsuit, so he’s not in a position to comment on it. Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson also declined to comment on the case.
The incident that led to the alleged civil rights violations began earlier in the day on Aug. 15, 2002.
According to reports, a man driving a sport utility vehicle almost struck Shelley and her husband, Mark Fishbein, in another part of the city.
The Fishbeins claim the man then circled the area several times, confronting them each time. The Fishbeins said they tried to de-escalate the incident and were finally able to get to their car, but the driver complained to the police that Mark Fishbein used a racial slur and pointed a pistol at him.
Hess said six to eight Glenwood police officers – some in flak jackets and AR-15 assault rifles – then swarmed the Fishbein residence and gang-tackled Shelley and Mark Fishbein outside their home.
Police then forcibly entered the Fishbein home, where the incident with the teenagers took place.
Mark Fishbein was arrested and later charged with felony menacing, unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon and prohibited use of a weapon and ethnic intimidation. He later pleaded innocent and is awaiting trial on those charges.
A charge filed against Shelley Fishbein of being an accessory to a crime, originally filed because she was with her husband when the incident occurred, has since been dropped.
The suit claims Scott Fishbein and Aaron Hughes were terrorized by the police action and that they have lost trust and respect for the police.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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