Brandon Cole, 36, Died In Denver Police Shooting After Report Of Potential Domestic Dispute
DENVER, COLORADO (August 26, 2023) - A 36-year-old unarmed man identified as Brandon Cole has tragically died in a Denver police shooting along Cedar Avenue.
Denver County officials are saying that the incident took place on August 5th. Police officers received a call about a potential domestic dispute.
A police officer encountered Brandon Cole and a verbal altercation ensued. At some point during the encounter, the man reached into a vehicle to grab an item and began approaching officers.
One officer was able to hit the man with a stun gun, but only one prong went in and it wasn’t particularly effective. The officer at the scene then shot the victim twice with her handgun causing him to fall to the ground.
It was shortly after this that the object he was holding became clear. He was holding a black marker at the time he was shot.
Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help him. Despite life-saving measures, Brandon Cole later died due to his injuries. The female officer involved in the shooting has been with the Denver Police Department for four years.
Ebony Cole told reporters that her husband was a good man who did not deserve to be killed. A full investigation into the shooting remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Denver Police Shootings
The United States has one of the highest instances of police shootings in the world. According to Statista, “Sadly, the trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing, with a total 555 civilians having been shot, 75 of whom were Black, as of July 25, 2023. In 2022, there were 1,097 fatal police shootings.” People in the midst of a mental health crisis were nearly 16 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement. There are a number of steps that law enforcement officials should take in order to prevent lethal encounters with suspects.
- Police officers should be trained to de-escalate tense encounters with suspects.
- Police officers should determine if a suspect is taking medication.
- Police officers should have less lethal alternatives to their firearms.
- All use-of-force encounters with officers should be thoroughly investigated.
Colorado law forbids officers from using excessive force in the execution of their duties. Excessive force occurs when a police officer uses force beyond what they reasonably believe is necessary for a given situation. Victims of excessive force will typically have recourse through 42 U.S. Code § 1983. According to the statute, every person who, under the color of any statute, ordinance or law, causes a citizen of the United States to be deprived of any rights secured by the Constitution, shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law.
Whether or not an officer’s use of force is considered excessive will depend on the specific facts of any case. Consider, for example, the 1985 Supreme Court case Tennessee v. Garner. The court held that officers cannot shoot an unarmed, non-dangerous suspect merely out of concern that they will escape. However, police may shoot a suspect if they believe that the suspect will cause serious injury or death to the officer, other officers or the public if not apprehended. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any officer involved shooting.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Body camera footage from all officers involved should be examined.
- The actions of all officers involved leading up to a shooting should be understood.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
The ability to use lethal force is one of the most consequential powers that police officers hold. This power must be used with great discretion and only as a measure of last resort. Sadly, though, it is rare for police departments to accept responsibility for the wrongful actions of their officers. The family of any person that died in a police shooting may have legal recourse through a constitutional claim.
Investigating Denver Police Shootings
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Brandon Cole. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. This was a tragedy that should not have taken place. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what went wrong for the sake of the victim’s family.
Do you need more information about a Denver police shooting? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that victims of excessive force are aware of their rights and that police departments are held to account for their actions. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.