CASTLE ROCK, Colo. - The Colorado ACLU is suing the Castle Rock Police Department for records the police chief refuses tomake public about an officer involved shooting. They are the same documents denied to CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia when he investigated the case in September.
In February, the officer fired at burglary suspects who were driving away in an SUV. One of his high powered bullets hit an innocent vehicle where former cop Mike Cardella crouched over his wife in the front seat.
"One of us was going to take a round, hopefully it wouldn't penetrate me and go into her," he said.
Luckily, no one was injured. The AR-15 round hit Mike Cardella's front tire, about 24 inches below the windshield.
Susan Cardella said, "I was just, 'I can't believe that we got shot.' Your mind starts thinking tons of things. Did we get hit?"
The Castle Rock Officer was firing at the suspects' SUV as it approached him in a residential neighborhood but continued to fire after the vehicle passed him. As he followed the SUV, his rifle pointed at a school and the Cardellas' car.
Police Chief Jack Cauley has refused to release the internal affairs report about the incident.
"When an officer's gunfire endangers innocent bystanders a thorough investigation is warranted and the public is entitled to know the details of that investigation and the results of that investigation," said ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein.
Silverstein argues the report is not information that will harm an ongoing criminal investigation. He says it is essential for public confidence.
"Was the investigation thorough and impartial or was it a whitewash designed to protect the officer?"
The Cardellas also hope the court will force the police department to release the report.
"I want to know what the findings were. I wanted to be able to read the reports," Mike Cardella said. "I've got questions that need to be answered."
This is just one of several ACLU suits filed in the past decade to force Colorado police departments to release records. In most cases, judges have ruled the documents should be public.
It could be several months before a ruling is issued in this case.