DENVER – A lawsuit filed in federal court Monday alleges a U.S. Army Color Guard member, based at Fort Carson, permanently injured a man in a drunken beating after a rodeo the color guard performed at earlier that day.
The suit, filed by Brandon Bunting in U.S. District Court in Denver, names the United States as the defendant since it is responsible for the actions of Army members.
The suit says Bunting attended the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs on July 11, 2015 and had a spot at a nearby campground to stay through the next day.
Army Color Guard members were performing at the rodeo and some had also chosen to camp at the nearby campground.
The suit says some of the color guard started drinking early in the morning of July 11 and were under the influence during their uniformed performance that evening.
The drinking continued after the rodeo at the campground, according to the suit.
At some point after midnight July 12, a member of the color guard named David Benavides became “progressively belligerent and confrontational,” according to the suit, despite a sergeant – Daniel Martin – being at the campground and with Benavides.
The lawsuit says Benvaides, unprovoked, started punching Bunting, eventually knocking him to the ground, where he continued to punch and kick Bunting.
Bunting was knocked unconscious during the incident, according to the suit, which says he suffered “permanent” injuries to his head and face.
The lawsuit says two witnesses confirmed Benavides started the fight and that Sgt. Martin and other Army Color Guard members stood by and watched, despite the fact that they “could have intervened and prevented the injuries suffered by [Bunting].”
Bunting is seeking compensation for past and future physical and economic injuries, medical expenses, and past and future suffering and emotional distress.
Fort Carson says Benavides was discharged in April.
Fort Carson officials sent Denver7 the following statement in regard to the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon:
"Fort Carson is aware of the suit against the Mounted Color Guard and the U.S. Government. The Soldier mentioned in the complaint was discharged from the Army on April 26, 2016. We are not going to discuss any ongoing court case. We are cooperating with the Department of Justice during this situation. Fort Carson expects its Soldiers to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Army Values."