Fourth excessive force lawsuit filed against city

Matt Stensland

— For the fourth time in two years, the city of Steamboat Springs is being sued by people who claim excessive force was used by police officers.

The city is named as a defendant in the newest lawsuit, along with former officer Kiel Petkoff and current officer Shane Musgrave.

The plaintiffs are Cory Hynes and Kyler Livingston. Hynes now lives in Denver, and Livingston lives in Texas.

The lawsuit was filed by Steamboat attorney Grant Bursek, who filed the other three lawsuits against the city.

Both Bursek and City Manager Deb Hinsvark said they could not comment about the most recent lawsuit.

The lawsuit is related to an April 12, 2013, incident in downtown Steamboat.

Hynes and Livingston worked together and were friends, according to the lawsuit. At about 11:30 p.m., they left a bar on Yampa Street and got into a friendly scuffle. Livingston went to jokingly trip Hynes, and Hynes put Livingston in a headlock.

The lawsuit claims both men were laughing and “no reasonable person could have believed Hynes and Livingston were fighting.”

While playing around, the men claim they were tackled from behind by Musgrave, who never announced his presence or stated he was a police officer, the lawsuit states.

Livingston claims that, while being tackled, he hit his head on the pavement and was knocked unconscious.

According to the lawsuit, while Musgrave tackled Livingston, Petkoff tackled Hynes from behind. Petkoff also did not announce his presence or state he was a police officer.

Hynes claims he did not know the person who tackled him was a cop, and he struggled with Petkoff. According to the lawsuit, Petkoff asked Hynes “You trying to fight a cop?” and Hynes replied “I didn’t know you were a cop.”

Hynes claims Petkoff took him to the ground face first on Yampa Street.

Hynes was placed in handcuffs, and police talked to the men separately. According to the lawsuit, the men told the officers they were friends and were not fighting. Other people also told the officers that the men were friends. Hynes was in handcuffs for about 20 minutes.

Livingston and Hynes were eventually released without charges.

In the lawsuit, the men claim unlawful seizure, unlawful arrest and excessive use of force. The lawsuit also claims the city is liable.

The lawsuit does not state how much money the plaintiffs are demanding.

Of the city’s other recent excessive force lawsuits, one was settled for an undisclosed amount, and another is set for trial in November. The other is still being litigated.

Bursek has also been retained by a man named Benjamin Holdridge, who is also considering a lawsuit.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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