Woman Alleges Violent Arrest by Custer County Sheriff’s Deputies While Being a Victim of Sex Trafficking

On January 18, 2022, Custer County deputies were called to a Westcliff trailer in search of a 16-year-old runaway from Colorado who had reportedly stolen a car belonging to her guardian.

Upon locating her in a trailer closet, the deputies discovered her in an apparent state of substance influence and proceeded to take her into custody. However, her demeanor shifted, leading to uncooperative behavior, including an attempt to bite one of the deputies.

In response, the deputies deployed a Taser on her and subsequently transported her to the sheriff’s office. Her non-cooperation persisted, resulting in another use of the Taser and her placement in a restraint chair.

The unfolding events left the young individual in distress—hyperventilating, convulsing, and soiling herself, according to her attorney, Kevin Mehr. Initially charged with resisting arrest, the charges were later dismissed by a judge.

Now, the woman is filing a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office, alleging the use of excessive force. Mehr contends that during the two instances of Taser use, the woman exhibited what is termed as “passive resistance,” emphasizing that Taser use in such circumstances is inappropriate.

Furthermore, Mehr highlights that his client was a minor at the time of the incident, underscoring the severity of the deputies’ actions. “You are not supposed to tase children; that’s specifically something that is a consideration in this particular department’s policy manual,” he stated.

In addition to the alleged excessive force, the woman claims that she was a victim of sex trafficking involving the two men found with her in the trailer. However, no police investigation into this aspect of the case was reported.

In response to the allegations, the Custer County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement on Facebook, expressing the current Sheriff’s deep concern. The Sheriff has taken the initiative to involve the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in reviewing the incident. He has voluntarily pledged support for their findings, even contemplating the possibility of criminal charges if warranted.