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El Paso Prisoner Receives $80,000 Settlement

Former El Paso County prisoner Brock John Behler received a settlement of $80,000 from El Paso County, Colorado to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging the use of excessive force by former Deputy Dennis Grivois. The 2009 lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado, stated that Deputy Grivois had placed the prisoner in a bear-hug, slammed him to the floor, and injured his face, chin, and left forearm.

Behler was transported to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he was treated for his injuries and hospitalized, receiving medication for his severe pain, stitches for the laceration on his chin, and surgery several days later to treat the very severe fractures to his left forearm, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit further alleged that even after surgery, Plaintiff experienced severe pain, and continued to suffer pain as a result of the injuries he suffered while in jail. It also alleged that the acts complained off violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and specifically the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

According to El Paso County Sheriff, Terry Maketa, "In this particular case, we can't defend what that deputy did. Our employee was wrong. He was operating outside of our policy." Shortly thereafter, according to Sheriff Maketa, Grivois was fired for not following departmental procedure.

Maketa said that the county decided not to go to trial, because, "It became very costly to the taxpayers and wasn't worth the risk." Estimated attorney’s fees to defend the case might have run $250,000, he stated, not mentioning any jury award that might be returned against the county.

The $80,000 settlement will come out of the county's Self Insurance Fund, which is partially funded by tax money, as well as funds received from other sources like moneys paid by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau for any work the county does on its behalf.
Under the terms of the July 2010 settlement, Behler discharged both the County and Deputy Grivois of any additional liability, and Behler is responsible for any future medical bills resulting from the injury. The county has a right of reimbursement from its former employee, but the Sheriff indicated that this action was highly unlikely. See: Behler v. Grivois, U.S.D.C. (D. Col.), Case No. 1:09-cv-02282-WDM-MEH.

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Related legal case

Behler v. Grivois