Denver officer suspended after using pepper spray on young man

Video doesn't support officer's justification

DENVER – A police lieutenant will be suspended for 10 days after an investigation found he improperly pepper-sprayed a young man in an incident involving a rowdy crowd.

Disciplinary action against Kevin Edling was handed down in June. His unpaid suspension period begins July 15.

The pepper spray moment was caught on camera by police officers’ body cameras, and the video was released Tuesday morning to Contact7 Investigates after a request under the Colorado Open Records Act.

Police officers found a stolen car with people inside on April 28, 2017, near 21st and California streets. Officers arrested two people.

“While officers were attempting to process the scene of the stolen motor vehicle, several individuals began to gather around officers and the stolen vehicle,” a city record shows an investigation found.

“The crowd became angry, and several individuals began yelling obscenities and challenging officers to fights,” the report went on to say.

Two more people were arrested.

At one point, Edling arrived on scene and approached the front of the Urban Peak Youth Center with pepper spray in hand.

He sprayed a man in the face.

Edling claimed a young man, identified as UM in the report, threateningly raised his hands.

The video from police body worn cameras doesn’t support that claim.

“At the time the OC spray was deployed, UM posed no credible threat to anyone,” the report said.

Edling’s suspension, handed down by the Denver Manager of Safety’s Office, begins July 15.

Edling has the right to appeal his decision to the Denver Civil Service Commission.

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