MONTE VISTA — Rio Grande County and the City of Monte Vista have agreed to pay more than $290,000 to settle a lawsuit over a 2016 incident at the Delgado resident in Monte Vista, according to Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP, who represented the family in the lawsuit.
The settlement also called for the insurer for the City of Monte Vista to pay two-thirds of the mediation costs with the insurer for the county paying the other third.
According to attorney David Lane, who represented plaintiffs Rafael Delgado Sr., Rafael Delgado Jr. and Annabelle Delgado, the law enforcement officers involved in the May 10, 2016 incident caused physical harm particularly to Delgado Sr., 66 at the time, who had to have shoulder surgery as a result.
Defendants in the suit were Monte Vista Police Officers Joseph Ruybal, David Pino and Matthew Bordewick, and Rio Grande County Sheriff Deputies Noble Havens and Tyler Dean.
Officers went to the Delgado home after receiving a call from a neighbor that Delgado Jr. was walking around the neighborhood with a gun, which was later determined to be a BB gun. After arriving at the Delgado home in search of the younger Delgado, who was living with his parents at the time, the officers also learned there was an active warrant for the senior Delgado for failure to appear for a traffic citation.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys maintained the Delgados posed no threat to the officers but were handled roughly, with the older Delgado stunned by a Taser at one point, and that the father was injured during the arrests. The attorneys stated that the officers’ body cameras bore out their account of the incident.
“Defendants unjustifiably and without provocation escalated the encounter into a brutal violation of the Delgados’ constitutional rights,” the suit stated.
The suit stated that Delgado Sr.’s shoulder was injured during the incident, requiring surgery, and he has not been able to work since that time. He is a manual laborer.
Officers charged the senior Delgado with felony first-degree assault on a police officer and menacing in addition to misdemeanor charges of obstructing government operations, resisting arrest and criminal mischief. The junior Delgado was charged with disorderly conduct. All charges against the Delgados were ultimately dismissed.
Lane stated that his firm filed the lawsuit as a last resort after negotiations failed.
This is not the first time the Monte Vista PD had been sued by Delgado Sr., who also settled with the department after a 2003 incident. At that time he also claimed to be the victim of excessive force by police officers.