Rifle police investigate use of force in arrest
The Rifle Police Department said over the weekend that it is investigating an incident “which resulted in the use of force to make an arrest.”
About 30 seconds of the incident was captured on video, which was posted Saturday to Facebook by John Arcos showing his friend, Devon Kelley, 19, being arrested.
The video, which Arcos said was given to him by a woman, shows a police officer emptying the pockets of a man handcuffed on the floor. The officer stands Kelley up in a recessed area of the lobby at Comfort Inn & Suites in South Rifle that’s out of view from the woman’s phone, then takes Kelley to the floor again with an arm around his upper body.
Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein said Sunday that the arrest occurred after the Comfort Inn clerk called in a complaint sometime around midnight last Thursday.
Klein said Kelley did not require first aid or medical treatment. Reached on a family trip in Denver, Klein was unsure of the charges against the man.
“We are in the middle of an investigation on this,” Klein said. “That would have been done anyway even if we had not received a formal complaint. Anytime force is used, there is an investigation.”
Kelley, reached by cell phone Sunday afternoon, said he believes he was mistreated, though he said he did spend a night in jail and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct via “court over the phone” and agreed to pay a $300 fine.
Kelley said he got a room at the hotel through a friend, who paid for the room with a credit card and then he paid her back in cash.
He admitted to having some friends in the room, but not for long, “10 minutes tops.” He said the clerk contacted them saying they were causing a disturbance. The police were ultimately called, leading to the confrontation between Kelley and the officer in the hotel lobby area.
Kelley said he was placed under arrest and cuffed, and that’s when things escalated. He admitted he began cussing at the officer because he couldn’t believe he was being arrested over the incident.
At one point, Kelley said the officer said he’d “had enough of his mouth,” and pulled him to the floor by his neck. Because he had a sucker in his mouth, he said he gagged. Other than some soreness on his neck, though, he said he wasn’t hurt.
Kelley added he wasn’t drinking or doing anything illegal that night.
The Rifle police news release said, “The officer involved followed department policy and immediately reported the incident to his supervisor. Pursuant to standard procedure, an investigation was initiated. Subsequently, a video of the arrest taken by a third party was posted on social media and a formal complaint was lodged by a citizen.”