Kremmling man claims officers, deputies violated his civil rights
A civil rights lawsuit has been filed by Kremmling resident Robert Mark Smith against the Town of Kremmling, members of the Kremmling Police Department (KPD) and deputies of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO).
The lawsuit alleges Kremmling police officers and Grand County Sheriff’s deputies violated Smith’s First and Fourth Amendment rights. The lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred on March 5, 2013.
The lawsuit names the Town of Kremmling, Officer Robert Dillon of the KPD, Officer Todd Wilson of the KPD, Deputy Daniel Mayer of the GCSO, Deputy Zachary Luchs of the GCSO, Deputy Mike Reed of the GCSO and Chief Scott Spade of the KPD as defendants.
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin, who took office in January, confirmed that both Mayer and Reed are still working for the GCSO. Luchs is no longer with the department. Chief Scott Spade of the KPD confirmed that both officers Dillon and Wilson are still with the KPD.
Court documents for the lawsuit, filed on March 4, claim KPD officers and GCSO deputies entered Smith’s home without a warrant and without cause on March 5, 2013.
According to the documents the officers were at Smiths home in response to a welfare check request made by a Longmont woman about a friend of hers, Melody Fairfield, who was staying with Smith at the time of the incident. The documents claim the Longmont woman requested the welfare check after Fairfield informed her of a heated argument that occurred between Smith and Fairfield on the night of March 3, 2015.
The documents allege that after entering Smith’s home the officers and deputies used excessive force on Smith. Smith claims he was tasered without cause and was kicked, stomped and/or punched by the officers. The document also claims at least one of the officers involved drew his firearm and pointed it at Smith.
Smith claims he never resisted and beyond refusing officers entry to his home complied with all orders. He claims he stated clearly that he did not consent to officers entering his home.
Chief Scott Spade of the KPD declined to comment for this story Tuesday, citing the need for legal guidance from the Kremmling Town attorney before he could make any statements.
“We are aware of the allegations presented; however, we have yet to be formally advised of any pending litigation,” said Sheriff Brett Schroetlin.
Schroetlin added that since the incident occurred before his time in office, he was not involved any investigations into officer conduct but was not aware of any disciplinary action taken against the deputies involved.
“Our officers acted within the scope of their duties,” said Schroetlin.
For his part Smith claims the incident in March 2013 was retaliation for his vocal complaints about the Town of Kremmling’s enforcement of regulations regarding mobile home parks. Smith claims the March 2013 incident was part of a multi-year pattern of intimidation conducted by the Town of Kremmling and the KPD in an effort to silence his complaints about regulation enforcement.
According to the lawsuit documents, Smith moved to Kremmling in 1996 and shortly thereafter purchased a mobile home park. Smith claims he spent considerable time and money bringing his mobile home park into compliance with the town’s mobile home park regulations, but that other mobile home park owners were not required to comply.
He alleges that after he began complaining to the Town of Kremmling about the lack of regulation enforcement, sometime in the last 1990s, he was targeted by the local police department for his dissent.
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Grand County voters will be deciding on a number of issues this November from tax increases to school board memberships. Ballots were mailed out last week and Election Day is Nov. 2.