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article imageVideo: Denver cops trip pregnant woman face-first; beat husband

By Megan Hamilton     Nov 28, 2014 in Crime
Denver - When Mayra Lazos-Guerrero, seven months pregnant, walked up to two two police officers who were were beating her husband while he was on the ground, she asked them to stop. Instead, one of the officers swept her feet out from under her, a witness said.
She fell face-first onto the pavement. The officers then began hitting her as well as her husband, Addicting Info reports.
Fortunately, the witness, Levi Frasier, happened to be driving that day in Denver when the incident went down, and he videotaped the event. Seeing what was going on, he recorded the officers on his tablet computer while they beat David Nelson Flores, demanding he spit out drugs, and then tripped Lazos-Guerrero. The officers claimed that Flores swallowed a white sweat sock.
Denver police handout
The arrest report states that the officers believed the sock was filled with drugs, according to The Raw Story.
According to news station KDVR, public records show that uniformed Denver Police Officers Charles "Chris" Jones IV and his partner Christopher Evans arrived as back-up to assist two plain-clothed police officers who weren't identified.
In the video, Evans can be seen holding Flores' legs down. One of the undercover officers can be seen hugging Flores, who is lying on his side on the asphalt. His hands are pinned behind his back.
Then, Jones yells at Flores to "Spit the drugs out! Spit the drugs out!"
But Flores doesn't open his mouth and Jones punches him six times — in the face, with a closed fist, KDVR reports. The video shows the suspect's head bouncing against the pavement several times.
"I used to cage fight and I've never seen punches harder than that," Frasier told the station.
On the video, a woman can be heard yelling in Spanish. Then Lazos-Guerrero, visibly pregnant, walks over to where the officers are pummeling her husband.
The video shows Jones reaching out and sweeping the woman's feet out from under her, KDVR reports. Lazos-Guerrero falls hard on her stomach and face.
Jones allegedly reported to a superior that he thought Lazos-Guerrero was going to kick him, but Frasier said he didn't see it that way, KDVR reports.
"She was screaming like, 'What are you doing? Let him go! Let him go! Stop hurting him! What are you doing?'" he said. "She was just concerned for him. You could clearly hear that and as she got closer."
As soon as they tripped Lazos-Guerrero, one of the officers noticed Frasier was filming the incident.
"Camera!" he shouted.
Frasier said that the officers threatened him with arrest, demanded he turn over all photos and videotape to them and then seized his tablet over his objections.
"When he took it, I said, 'Hey! You can't do that. You need a warrant for that!' and he said, 'What program did you take the video with? Where is that?" Frasier told KDVR.
But police ignored his objections, he said, and rifled through his personal photos without said court order.
"The first officer that comes up to ask me about my witness statement brings me to the police car and says we could do this the easy way, or we could do this the hard way," he said. "It was taken as 'You can either cooperate and give us what we want or we're going to incarcerate you.'"
When his computer was returned, the video had been erased, he said.
However, the officers overlooked one key detail.
Frasier's video had been automatically uploaded to cloud servers. Once he arrived home, he retrieved the video.
According to KDVR, the police report states that the officers attacked Flores to keep him from swallowing evidence and choking,The Root reports. The report further stated that the officers tripped Lazos-Guerrero out of concern that she would kick one of the officers.
An expert on police conduct offered a different opinion.
"I just don't see how either swallowing evidence or they're worried about him choking is justifying that degree of force," Mark Carlson told KDVR, per The Root. "We don't want you to choke, so we're going to fracture your face instead?
Frasier told the station that it's "possible" both he and the police officer who pored over his tablet "missed seeing" the clip inside his files. Frasier said he thinks that in reality, the clip was deleted either intentionally or by mistake.
The case has attracted the attention of the FBI's Public Corruption Unit, which is investigating the officers' actions and whether or not the department properly investigated a use of force incident, according to this KDVR report.
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