Gypsum man sues county
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Gypsum-area resident Doug Hill, who had a run-in with deputies from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office in 2008, filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against Eagle County and the Sheriff’s Office.
Hill’s complaint alleges that the Sheriff’s Office knowingly violated his constitutional rights when officers arrested him with force and without probable cause to believe he had committed a crime, according to the complaint.
Hill and his neighbor, Roger Brown, have a history of disputes in which Brown has repeatedly called the Sheriff’s Office out to their properties, located south of Gypsum, just outside of the town limits.
The incident Hill is suing over happened in December of 2008, when he was using a backhoe to grade the private road shared by both Brown and Hill.
In a road maintenance agreement dated November of 2007, Hill and his wife, Colleen, are said to have the sole decision-making authority relating to the repair and maintenance of the road.
The agreement is why Hill said Brown had no right to call the Sheriff’s Office that December, and also why he said the Sheriff’s Office had no right to arrest him.
“I said (to the Sheriff’s Office deputy) that I have every right to grade the road and I have a legal agreement to do so,” Hill said.
The Sheriff’s deputy who first arrived on scene, David Proctor, then told Hill to stop, but Hill refused.
Proctor called for backup and ended up arresting Hill. Hill said two deputies, including Proctor, also pointed their guns at him. One officer also kneed Hill in the back, he said.
Hill was charged with obstruction and resisting arrest, and he wouldn’t accept a plea deal from the District Attorney’s Office, so it went to trial.
Hill was acquitted on the resisting arrest charge, but not on the obstruction of justice charge, to which Hill appealed.
Fast forward to Tuesday, and Hill has filed suit in federal court with no specified damages sought.
“There was no constitutional authority that should have allowed (Sheriff’s deputies) to come onto my private property and stop me from what I’m doing unless there’s reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed,” Hill said. “In my opinion, we had an officer that went out of control and the Eagle County sheriff didn’t back down.”
Eagle County Attorney Bryan Treu said he can’t yet comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, but that he has reviewed the actions of the Sheriff’s Office deputies in the case and is “confident they acted appropriately.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.