Warning: The following video contains graphic material.
An aspiring MMA fighter in Colorado had his career cut short abruptly and tragically in December, when he was paralyzed from the chest down while being arrested in La Junta.
The injury to Donovan Duran occurred when police Sgt. Vincent Fraker and another officer dragged Duran out of the back seat of an SUV and head-down on the sidewalk in front of the Arkansas Valley Medical Center.
He hasn’t been able to walk since, and now he’s suing the city of La Junta and Fraker for an unspecified amount of damages.
On Tuesday, the Denver Post obtained a video of the event taken from a body-cam Fraker was wearing.
It shows police officers rolling Duran on the pavement with his neck in an awkward position. As the officers attempt to move him, he falls to the ground. The officers ask him to stand up but he remains on the ground with his head slumped down.
Duran, who was 24 at the time of the arrest, was picked up outside his father’s home for being drunk and disorderly, but was never charged with a crime. In April, a grand jury declined to charge Fraker in the incident, although the jurors did write in a report that Duran’s injuries were “tragic.”
The report and the video footage released by the district attorney’s office show Duran being ordered out of the car, and him saying, “Don’t touch me,” according to the Post, which was shown a copy that included audio.
After trying to slip out of his handcuffs, the newspaper reported, the officers pinned him to the ground, and Duran called out, “I stopped! I stopped!”
A few weeks after the incident, Duran told the Post that Fraker and his fellow officer didn’t believe that he couldn’t move his legs, repeatedly ordering him to stand up and handling him roughly once they got him into the medical center.
He also said that they didn’t convey his condition to the hospital staff, telling them that he was drunk and hallucinating instead.
It was Duran’s third run-in with the police in four days. Members of his family claimed that he was drinking a lot of alcohol and acting paranoid.
“La Junta Police Department training of officers does not include proper training in responding to calls involving persons in crisis or with obvious mental health problems,” Duran’s lawsuit alleges.
It goes on, “Fraker’s use of excessive force … was outrageous and shocking to the conscience, in violation of Duran’s substantive due process rights.”