85-year-old arrested after scuffle over handicapped permit

DENVER - An 85-year-old Denver man is free on bond after he was accused of assault with a deadly weapon, when a 66-year-old parking volunteer said he was struck by the man's walking cane.

John W. Copeland was originally held under a $50,000 bond in the case, but it was reduced to $2,000 Friday and he was freed.

The incident, which happened on Dec. 15, involved a volunteer deputized as "special police" through Denver's Disability Parking Enforcement Program.   The program, administered by the Human Rights & Community Relations group,  employs volunteers who check handicapped parking spaces in parking lots for make sure the spots are used by drivers displaying an official handicapped permit.

The volunteer, Richard Knudson,  said he questioned Copeland about his out-of-date handicapped-parking permit and was hit on the back of the neck with Copeland's walking cane when he confiscated the permit.

Copeland told 7NEWS Knudson never showed any identification.  Denver police said under state law Knudson is an "at-risk" adult and they began an investigation when Knudson called police to make a report. Copeland was arrested on a felony warrant -- assault with a deadly weapon.

"At this time all indications are that the actions of each Denver Police Officer in this case were appropriate and in line with the high standards expected of them," said a statement from Denver Police issued Friday night.

Copeland now has to use a walker since police confiscated his cane as evidence.

His next court date is Jan. 18.

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