COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A Colorado Springs police officer investigated for a videotaped traffic stop in which a black man was pulled from a car has been cleared of wrongdoing.
Police sent a letter to the man, Ryan Brown, on June 8 saying that the actions of Officer Dave Nelson were legal and proper but offering no further explanation.
The American Civil Liberties Union has called the incident a case of racial profiling. The ACLU announced the police finding Wednesday, saying it was disappointed and was requesting the entire investigative file.
Brown, who is black, recorded the stop after he and his brother were pulled over in March. When the video starts, his handcuffed brother, Benjamin Brown, is out of the car being patted down, and Ryan Brown repeatedly asks an officer to identify himself but gets no answer. The video ends with an officer opening the car's passenger door and pulling Ryan Brown from the vehicle with another officer's help, saying they were going to search him for weapons. They put him face down on a snowy lawn.
Ryan Brown was ticketed for resisting and interference with a public official, and driver Benjamin Brown was cited on compulsory insurance and obstruction of view violations.
Nelson was the only officer investigated.
In a statement, the legal director of the ACLU of Colorado, Mark Silverstein, said no reasonable person who watches the video would conclude that two young white men would be treated the same way.
"The message to the community, especially young people of color, is that they should expect this kind of treatment from Colorado Springs police during the course of routine traffic stops," Silverstein said. "That is unacceptable."
Lt. Catherine Buckley, a police spokeswoman, said she was disappointed in the ACLU's characterization of the decision. She said police can't release more details about the probe, including a more detailed explanation of the decision, without a waiver from Brown.