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Colorado man receives major settlement after police beat, pepper spray, and repeatedly tase him

Carl Leadholm, 41, was subdued by police during a traffic stop in November 2014 in Commerce City, Colorado. Leadholm was suffering a diabetic seizure, but officers mistakenly believed that he was drunk. (Image source: KCNC screen capture)

A Colorado man has received $825,000 in a settlement with the city of Commerce City, Colorado, after half a dozen officers beat him, pepper sprayed him, and repeatedly tased him during a diabetic seizure. According to KCNC-TV, the officers say they mistakenly believed the man was driving drunk.

What happened?

According to Carl Leadholm, 41, he is Mormon and has never had a drop of alcohol in his life. However, Leadholm has Type 1 diabetes, and suffered a seizure that was the result of diabetic shock when he was driving home Nov. 1, 2014.

According to police reports provided to KCNC, officers observed him driving erratically and believed him to be drunk. Police say they put on their flashers and attempted to pull him over, but Leadholm did not immediately comply.

Leadholm claims that he "blacked out" during the seizure and remembers very little of the incident, according to KCNC.

Police reports indicate that after calling for backup, when the officers eventually were able to pull Leadholm over, they "forcibly removed" him from the vehicle. Officers reported that they heard him saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," as they pulled him out of the vehicle.

Leadholm then fell to the ground and curled into the fetal position and did not comply with orders to allow himself to be handcuffed.

Police then pepper sprayed Leadholm in the eyes. When this did not produce the desired result, Officer Chris Dickey wrote in his report that he hit Leadholm in the leg with the collapsible baton as hard as he could, but Leadholm still did not move his hands to allow himself to be handcuffed. In response, Dickey tased him five times.

One officer at the scene claimed that Leadholm said "he was a diabetic and gets violent when his blood sugar is low," according to KCNC.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, they checked Leadholm's blood sugar levels and found them to be critically low at 35.

The officers admitted in their report that Leadholm did not have the smell of any liquor on his breath, nor did he display any signs of drug intoxication.

What happened to the driver?

Leadholm said he underwent extensive surgeries for the injuries he suffered in the incident and now has a permanent metal rod in one of his fingers.

Police initially charged Leadholm with reckless driving, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, and resisting arrest, but those charges were later dropped.

Leadholm sued the city of Commerce City in federal court. In explaining the decision to settle the case, a spokesman for the city told KCNC, "The city and its insurance provider opted to resolve this case to avoid the uncertainty and distraction that would result from a trial and potential appeal."

Leadholm's lawyer issued a statement saying, "They pulled him over for what they thought was DUI and what they did next was, everything wrong. I don’t think any of them had adequate training to recognize the diabetes Carl was having."

Leadholm told KCNC that he has lasting physical limitations as a result of the incident, and additionally suffers from PTSD.

One last thing…
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