Fitness Model Named in Colorado Police Brutality Lawsuit

DENVER -- A 23-year-old man has filed a lawsuit against the Denver Police Department that alleges he was dragged on the floor of his apartment and kneed in the head by officers responding to a noise complaint.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court Tuesday and reported by KCNC News4, alleges three officers "tortured" the man when they responded to his apartment in April and that people in his home who recorded what happened on their cell phones had their devices thrashed.

Lt. Matt Murray, a police spokesman, said officials are investigating the allegations and he could not comment. The lawsuit names officer Abbegayle Dorn, a professional fitness model who was a contestant on the "American Gladiator" television show in 2008. The lawsuit also lists the police department and two other officers -- who are not named.

The lawsuit filed by Rohit Mukherjee is the latest allegation of excessive force to hit Denver police.

The Denver Post reports Mukherjee seeks a jury trial to decide monetary damages. The newspaper has reported that the city has paid nearly $6.2 million since 2004 to settle police lawsuits, almost all of which were about excessive force allegations.

Mukherjee claims three officers responded to his apartment and that one male officer forced the door open when Mukherjee hesitated before going outside. He alleges that he was forced to the ground and dragged in a "wheelbarrow-like fashion."

Mukherjee said in the lawsuit that Dorn stood on his ankle, that officers twisted his fingers during questioning, kneed him in the head and smashed his face into a wall.

The lawsuit said that some of the nine people who are at the apartment took video and photos of what happened but that Dorn allegedly took their devices and put them in a bowl of water in the kitchen.

The lawsuit said Mukherjee was charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace and interfering with a police officer but prosecutors dismissed the charges. Seven of the people at the apartment were also charged but those charges were also dismissed, according to the lawsuit.

Last month, Denver Manager of Safety Ron Perea resigned amid anger over police officers caught on video hitting a man during a violent arrest downtown last year. Perea was criticized for not firing the two officers in the case. Denver police recently reopened an investigation into what happened.

Also last month, another man claimed two police officers beat him after he made comments about a traffic stop involving another person. A video was also released in that case, which is under investigation.