January 13, 2012
Colorado Springs officials agreed on Thursday to pay $480,000 to a former Manitou Springs police officer to settle a lawsuit alleging two of the city’s police officers repeatedly drew up fraudulent charges to put him in jail.
The settlement comes seven months after Jarrott Martinez filed suit in U.S. District Court against the city and two of its police officers, Sydney Huffman and Michael Jelmo.
The city agreed to pay Martinez $480,000 as part of the settlement, said Cindy Aubrey, city spokeswoman.
Jordan Factor, the attorney for Martinez, declined to discuss terms of the agreement.
“This case was only one part of his effort to obtain justice,” Factor said. “He remains hopeful that the prosecution of Sydney Huffman will provide him with some closure.”
Huffman, 24, faces six felony counts of attempting to influence a public official after prosecutors allege she repeatedly lied about a series of domestic violence attacks once believed carried out by Martinez, her ex-boyfriend.
In the suit, Martinez accused Huffman of coercing Colorado Springs investigators into pursuing four warrants for his arrest — including one issued after Martinez was acquitted in two trials and a district attorney dropped charges in another case.
The warrants alleged Martinez committed burglary, domestic violence and sexual assault, among other allegations.
The suit also claimed Michael Jelmo, a detective with the Colorado Springs Police Department, conspired with Huffman to draw up the charges, often overlooking Huffman’s lies and facts and witness statements that were believed to exonerate Martinez.
The charges were drummed up when Martinez left Huffman in April 2010 for another woman, the suit alleges.
Martinez was fired from his job as a police officer with the Manitou Springs Police Department shortly after Huffman made the allegations against him.
He also spent more than six months in jail — much it in solitary confinement – after the last charge, which also was dropped.
Martinez hasn’t returned to law enforcement due to a permanent restraining order that Huffman obtained against him that keeps him from carrying a gun, Factor said. His next step is to fight that order and once again become a police officer.
“He believes that this experience will help him become a better cop and be sensitive to the rights of everyone,” Factor said.
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