Police counter suit with records

Joel Stonington

Aspen Times Staff WriterRecords tell a very different story from the one Bronwyn Anglin presented in her lawsuit alleging misconduct by the Aspen police and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.The lawsuit was filed Aug. 11, and the Aspen Times went to press with a story that contained only facts from the lawsuit.”There’s always another side to the story,” said City Attorney John Worcester. “Other than that ,I have no comment.”Bronwyn Anglin, a former Aspen resident, alleges she was forcibly tranquilized while in the Pitkin County Jail after a wrongful arrest. Anglin is one of two women who filed lawsuits Aug. 11 alleging serious wrongdoing against the Aspen Police Department and its personnel.Police records, which several police officers and a sheriff’s deputy filed, describe Anglin as drunk, violent and out of control on Dec. 11, 2004 – a night the jail already was overloaded. The incident started after Anglin called police to report an assault. When police arrived, they arrested a friend of Anglin’s, and Anglin followed them to the jail. According to Anglin’s lawsuit, jail staff told her that they could release her friend on $250 bond. But when she returned from an ATM with money, Officer Dan Davis told her the jail could not release her friend.Anglin’s lawsuit alleges that Davis was out to get her. Anglin says Davis pushed her around earlier when he responded to her 911 call regarding her friend, and that later he laughed as she was tranquilized in the jail.The lawsuit and police records agree that Anglin called dispatch repeatedly and had been put on hold, though according to Anglin, she called because Davis was telling her she couldn’t get her friend out of jail on bond. Police records, however, state that Davis and Officer Melinda Calvano responded to a call from dispatch that someone was calling 911 repeatedly from the jail lobby. The city has since dismissed Calvano after an incident in which she used a Taser on an elderly homeless woman.According to Calvano’s report of the moments after she arrived at the jail (which Davis corroborated): “I asked Anglin what her emergency was and Anglin told me again that her friend was in trouble. I told her that her friend being in jail does not constitute an emergency. Anglin told me to ‘F— off.'”Soon afterward, the police report says, Anglin refused to leave and became violent, kicking, screaming and wrestling, and the police decided to arrest her.Both reports agree that police placed Anglin in a maximum-security cell where she began banging her hands against the door. According to Anglin, she merely wanted to make a phone call to arrange child care. However, police say they worried that she would hurt herself, and that she continued to be aggressive and yell profanities at police and medics who came to check on her. She was told that she would be sedated. When the medics tried to check her vital signs, both parties agree, she held on to her hair, ripping some out. Police held her down while the medics tranquilized her. According to Davis, “Anglin continued to weakly hit the door until the drug finally took full effect and she went to sleep.”Officer Leon Murray served Anglin with a court summons the next morning and reported a strong odor of alcohol on her, and mentioned that a fellow deputy thought that she likely was still above the legal limit to drive.A sheriff’s deputy who also was working in the jail mentioned that numerous inmates had been violent or out of control that night.”[Anglin] immediately began banging, kicking and hurling herself at the cell door,” Deputy Walter Geister wrote. “The restraint chair was occupied by another inmate. Medics were called. Sedation was authorized. [Anglin] is now sleeping.” The lawsuits, filed Aug. 11 in U.S. District Court in Denver, name as defendants six Aspen police officers, Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson and Assistant Chief Glenn Schaffer, Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis, one county deputy, the city of Aspen, Pitkin County, Aspen Valley Hospital, a doctor and two paramedics.Worcester, the Aspen city attorney, said that he had seen the case but it had yet to be served, a minor step likely to take place in the next few months.Parties familiar with the case say that Aspen officials have talked with a Denver law firm to handle the lawsuits.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is