COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - Police in the City of Colorado Springs were forced to pay $23,500 to a man they arrested by mistake for carrying his weapon in public. James Sorensen sued and won after he was arrested at a festival in July, one day after the Aurora shooting occurred. The entire incident was caught on camera and when the officer who disarmed him told him to get a lawyer, that’s exactly what he did.
The three officers and four sergeants involved were not aware of the law that made it legal open carry in city parks since 2003. Officers blamed the mistake on an outdated “cheat sheet” they use, in lieu of actually knowing the law they are charged to uphold. Police Chief Pete Carey ordered an internal review and demanded that the cheat sheet be scrubbed until it was in compliance with the law.
“I knew the law. I knew that it was legal for me to carry. My rights were trampled on,” Sorensen said.
9News.com reported that Metropolitan State University criminal justice professor Joseph Sandoval said, “A situation like this could turn very grave if you think about it,” Sandoval said. “If someone, if James would have resisted to the point of pulling his gun on a police officer, there could have been a fatal mistake and it was uncalled for.”