A Marine veteran was tased twice and taken into custody by a sheriff’s deputy in Colorado Springs after he refused to hand over his phone while waiting in a hospital room with his 19-month-old daughter, according to shocking video of the incident.
On April 17, 2019, Carl E. Andersen Jr. was waiting with his daughter Charlotte in the hospital after Andersen’s fiancé, Carissa Hiteshew, accidentally struck the young girl with her car.
While the infant was being treated for non-life threatening injuries, a plain-clothes detective from the Teller County sheriff’s department demanded to see both Andersen’s and Hiteshew’s phones without explanation. Andersen refused, prompting the deputy to return to the hospital room with three additional officers.
“When they walked into the room, it sort of felt like I was getting ready to go on patrol in Afghanistan,” Andersen, a former Marine Corps machine gunner, told Task & Purpose. “I had just had this deep-seated feeling of: Well something is about to happen here and it’s not going to be good.”
In the video, Andersen can be heard telling the officers that he will not leave his daughter’s side before saying, “You’re going to tase me because I won’t give you my wife’s cell phone?”
Andersen continues to refuse to hand over the cell phone, telling the police they don’t have the right to take it. An officer then tasers Andersen twice and handcuffs him.
“If he had come in and introduced himself and said: ‘I’m a Teller County detective; I need to check your phones; we want to make sure there is no evidence of child abuse;’ that’s a whole different story when you treat someone with respect,” Andersen said. “And that man did not treat anybody, including my fiancé, with respect.”
According to Andersen, the officers never read him his Miranda rights during the arrest or subsequent interrogation, and the charges against him were later dropped.
Andersen filed a lawsuit against Teller County, Colorado Springs and the four officers involved in the incident. In March this year, a Colorado Springs city attorney attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing Andersen never demonstrated the police were inadequately trained.
“These cops were not only never prosecuted; they were never fired; they were never disciplined in any way,” said Anderson’s attorney David Lane. “That’s because when the police investigate the police it always works out very well for the police.”
Andersen said he does not hate law enforcement and has the “utmost respect” for police, but says even police officers need to be held accountable for their actions.
“What the police in my particular story – in my case – did was wrong, and they need to be held accountable,” Andersen said. “The point I’m trying to make is that if more officers were held accountable for their actions by other police – good police who are out there – we might be having a little less strife in our nation at the moment.”