A Denver jury awarded a homeless man $40,000 after he was beaten by a then-sheriff's deputy at the city jail.
Jurors saw video of ex-Denver Sheriff's Deputy Stephen Koehler grabbing Robert Duran's throat in 2009 before throwing him at a cell wall.
"I told the jury the only way this case could have possibly come to light is because videotapes exist of everything that happened in the jail," Duran's Attorney David Lane told Westword. "Normally, if it's the word of a homeless prisoner versus a deputy, the deputy wins that battle every single time. But the jury saw what happened."
Duran had been arrested for assault after getting into a fight with another man and was being processed just before he was beaten by Koehler. Lane says there was blood everywhere and the video showed that Duran had his hands up in surrender mode.
The Denver Post reports that Koehler was dismissed in 2010 for being careless in the performance of his duties, failing to follow rules and lying to supervisors.
However it's not yet clear whether the city will be responsible for paying Duran's legal fees and damages or if Koehler will, in part because Koehler was already fired by the city.
"I think if Denver stopped writing checks for cops who get tagged by juries for civil-rights violations, and if Denver cops knew that their houses were at risk if they beat somebody up, that would do more to stop police brutality in Denver than anything else that could possibly happen," Lane told Westword.