DENVER (CN) – Greyhound called Denver police to arrest a blind 77-year-old man for “trespassing” in the bus station as he waited for a bus, the man claims in court.
Philip White, a retired public school administrator, sued Greyhound Lines, one of its security guards, three Denver police officers and the City of Denver, in Denver County Court. He alleges civil rights violations and assault.
White claims that when a bus from Denver to Vail was booked solid, a Greyhound manager gave him permission to wait at the downtown station, in case there was a cancellation.
White, a former wrestling coach whose face appears bloodied in two photographs in the complaint, says that he was minding his own business when a security guard three Denver police officers assaulted him and arrested him on bogus charges.
“On May 22, 2012, plaintiff Philip White, a blind 77-year-old man, arrived at Greyhound Lines Inc. (‘Greyhound’) located at 1055 19th Street, Denver Colorado 80202. Mr. White intended to take the 12:15 p.m. bus from Denver to Vail, Colorado,” the complaint states.
It continues: “When Mr. White was informed that there were no available tickets for the 12:15 p.m. bus, he was told by the ticket cashier that he could wait at the Greyhound terminal and see if there were any cancellations for the 12:15 p.m. bus.
“Mr. White asked to speak with the manager of Greyhound, and during the course of his conversation he was again instructed that he could wait at the Greyhound station.
“Thereafter, Greyhound Security Officer defendant Daniel Burke informed Mr. White that he had to leave the Greyhound station. Unbeknownst to Mr. White, defendant Burke had also called the Denver Police Department and informed the police department that Mr. White was trespassing.”
White claims he was asking Burke for permission to continue his conversation with the station manager when he was interrupted by Denver police officer Kyllion Chafin.
“Mr. White asked to ‘see’ defendant Chafin’s badge in order to verify that he was a Denver police officer,” the complaint states.
“Defendant Chafin sarcastically responded, ‘How can you see my badge if you’re blind?’
“Mr. White explained that what he meant was that he wanted to touch defendant Chafin’s badge to confirm that he was indeed a police officer. Defendant Chafin refused, stating, ‘You’re not touching me.’ This caused Mr. White uncertainty as to whether defendant Chafin was actually a police officer or not.
“Defendant Burke then began explaining to defendant Chafin that Mr. White was trespassing.
“Upon hearing this, Mr. White attempted to explain that he was not trespassing because he had permission from the Greyhound cashier and manager to wait at the station to see if there were any ticket cancellations for the 12:15 p.m. bus.
“While Mr. White was explaining that he had permission to wait at Greyhound bus station, Mr. White’s cane was pulled away from him and defendants Burke and Chafin wrenched Mr. White’s arms behind his back, propelled him forward, and slammed his head into the ticket counter.”
White, clearly injured and apparently disoriented in photos in the complaint, says he was handcuffed and left sitting on the floor of the bus station for an hour.
Denver police Officers Robert Wyckoff and Kristy Garcia arrived to escort the old-timer to jail, he says, and the foul play continued.
“While Mr. White was in custody, defendant Wyckoff began interrogating Mr. White without Mirandizing him or informing him that he was being videotaped,” the complaint states.
“Defendant Wyckoff began filming and questioning Mr. White in an effort to get Mr. White to confess to potentially incriminating conduct and/or manufacture baseless charges against him.
“Like defendant Chafin, defendant Wyckoff began harassing and taunting Mr. White, stating things like, ‘I thought you said you were blind?’
“Even after Mr. White stated to defendant Wyckoff that his handcuffs were too tight and that he was experiencing numbness in his hands, which could affect his ability to read Braille, defendant Wyckoff ignored Mr. White’s pleas and left Mr. White handcuffed.”
White claims the cops led him to jail by his own belt, and charged him with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace and trespassing.
He says the “baseless” charges were dismissed.
He claims he suffered possible nerve damage to his fingers that caused numbness and made it difficult for him to read.
He seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, assault and battery, outrage and false imprisonment.
He is represented by Darold Killmer with Killmer, Lane & Newman.
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