Man shot by Grand County Sheriff’s deputy files federal lawsuit
August 11, 2009
Just hours before he was sentenced in Grand County District Court on Monday to two years of probation, the defendant who was shot by a deputy last October sued the officer and the Grand County Sheriff’s Department in U.S. District Court in Denver.
The lawsuit brought Monday morning by lawyers for David Christopher Dalgarn (also known as David North), alleges that Dalgarn’s civil rights were violated when Grand County Sheriff’s Deputy Rochalle Rooks rammed Dalgarn’s car and, after an ensuing altercation, shot Dalgarn on Oct. 6, 2008.
The suit seeks damages from Rooks and the Sheriff’s Department as follows: “compensatory damages sufficient to fully and fairly compensate Plaintiff for his injuries and damages in an amount to be determined at trial; (2) an award of exemplary damages in an amount to be determined at trial…”
The lawsuit also seeks attorneys fees and costs.
Sheriff Rod Johnson declined to comment on the pending litigation Monday.
County Attorney Jack DiCola apprised Grand County Commissioners on Monday of the lawsuit, which is likely to be largely litigated by lawyers for the county’s insurance company, Johnson said.
According to an investigative report compiled by the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in January, Rooks drove his car into Dalgarn’s car near Tabernash to end a high-speed chase because he feared for public safety.
Rooks shot Dalgarn during the ensuing fight after Dalgarn repeatedly tried to take away Rooks’ gun.
The report says Dalgarn’s vehicle approached speeds of 100 mph as it appeared to intentionally try to hit other vehicles, including oncoming traffic.
The report also says Rooks warned Dalgarn several times not to try to take his gun before he shot him.
According to the lawsuit, Rooks rammed Dalgarn’s car after Dalgarn had pulled over and stopped. The lawsuit also says another officer was present and in a position to help Rooks apprehend the 23-year-old suspect, who the lawsuit describes as 5 feet, 6 inches tall, approximately 130 pounds and unarmed.
“Deputy Rooks willfully shot at him (Dalgarn) nine times with a hand gun,” the lawsuit alleges.
“As a direct result of the automobile collision and Deputy Rooks’ gunshots, Mr. Dalgarn received catastrophic injuries,” the lawsuit says. “Mr. Dalgarn will be permanently confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life and will require assistance with the basic activities of daily life.”
In addition, the lawsuit accuses Rooks of using excessive force and the Sheriff’s Department of providing inadequate training.