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Case dismissed against Colorado Springs man who filmed traffic stop

By: STEPHEN HOBBS AND KASSONDRA CLOOS The Gazette
September 24, 2015 Updated: September 25, 2015 at 7:03 am
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photo - Ryan Brown stands outside the Colorado Springs Municipal Court Wednesday, May 13, 2015 after a hearing. Brown was the passenger in his brother's car when they were pulled over by Colorado Springs police at the end of March, frisked and handcuffed without explanation. The ACLU is now representing them after the inccident was recorded on a phone video.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Ryan Brown stands outside the Colorado Springs Municipal Court Wednesday, May 13, 2015 after a hearing. Brown was the passenger in his brother's car when they were pulled over by Colorado Springs police at the end of March, frisked and handcuffed without explanation. The ACLU is now representing them after the inccident was recorded on a phone video. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

A Colorado Springs man who filmed the traffic stop until he was put in handcuffs, had his case dismissed by the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office on Thursday.

Ryan Brown was involved in the stop in March during which he and his brother Benjamin were pulled over and ticketed. The video of the incident filmed by Ryan Brown has drawn more than 154,000 views on YouTube and made national headlines. The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado called the incident - in which Ryan Brown was accused of obstructing a police officer - a case of racial profiling and an issue of "driving while black."

While police had probable cause to arrest the defendant, the District Attorney's Office moved to dismiss the case against Ryan Brown because his brother had pleaded guilty to not having compulsory insurance and for an obstructed view due to a cracked windshield and no one was injured in the incident, spokeswoman Lee Richards said.

Brown's attorney said she and her co-counsel were pleased the case was dismissed.

"We're very pleased that the District Attorney's Office looked at it so closely and that in the end, this is the right result," said ACLU cooperating attorney Megan Downing. She and Dan Recht, of Recht Kornfeld in Denver, fought the charge on behalf of the ACLU. "The ACLU has maintained from the beginning that Ryan didn't commit any crime."

The video showed Colorado Springs police officer David Nelson pulling Brown from a vehicle with the assistance of officer Allison Detwiler. When Brown is out of the vehicle, Detwiler asks him to turn around, and Nelson appears to push him to the ground. The video stops abruptly and Brown claims the officers turned off the camera.

"If Ryan didn't have this video, I think it very likely would not have ended the way that it did," Downing said.

Ryan Brown filed a complaint with the CSPD the day of the incident, and Nelson was cleared of wrongdoing after an internal affairs investigation.

Mark Silverstein, legal director of ACLU Colorado, said the organization will again request the internal investigation file.

"The public has a right to know how the CSPD determined that it was 'justified, legal, and proper”' to remove the Brown brothers from the car at gunpoint and taser point, handcuff them, search them and detain them, as part of a traffic stop for a cracked windshield," Silverstein said in an email. 

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