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Video shows man who died after bouncer chokehold

Posted: 11:13 PM, Apr 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-13 11:03:23-04

The District Attorney has released video of the last moments of Sam Pickel's life, before he was put in a chokehold by a bouncer at a bar.

The video gives an obscured view of what happened on March 13, beginning with a woman slapping Sam Pickel from behind.

Not long after, Pickel is seen pushing a man standing next to him, and the bouncers rush into the video.

They can be seen slamming Pickel into a table and then onto the ground, but the actual chokehold happens off-camera.

The Adams County Coroner ruled that Pickel died from asphyxiation due to blunt force trauma to the neck.

Westminster police detectives recommended charging the bouncer with criminally negligent homicide, but District Attorney Dave Young declined to file charges last week.

"I cannot stand here and tell you that this is self defense," said Young. "But I can tell you it's very unlikely that we would be able to meet our burden beyond a reasonable doubt."

Still, legal experts said self-defense claims have to include a "reasonable" use of force.

"It's difficult to come up with a situation where anyone would argue that strangling somebody, even in self defense is, in fact, reasonable," said David Beller, a Denver attorney, who has been following the case.

Denver7 tried to reach the bouncer named in the court files for comment, but he did not respond.

Pickel's stepfather, Kirk Millikin, said the family is still seeking justice.

They are planning a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court, but focusing now on his funeral, which will take place Thursday.

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