Zach Gifford (2020)

From LEO Ratings

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Overview

On April 9, 2020, Kiowa County Colorado Sheriff's Office Undersheriff Tracy Weisenhorn initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle for failing to use a turn signal. Gifford was a passenger.[1][2]

Shortly after the stop, Deputy Quenten Stump arrived. During a consensual search, the officers found a small baggie with white powder in Gifford's pocket and no threatening weapons.[1][2]

Gifford ran, but was apprehended by both officers, taken to the ground, and tased multiple times. Gifford got away, and officers shot him as he fled.[1] Gifford died at the scene.[2]

The Prowers County Sheriff's Office investigated, with assistance from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation[3]

By April 15, 2020, both officers were placed on paid administrative leave.[4]

On January 12, 2021, Stump was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. The three felony counts each carry a sentence from 10 to 32 years.[3][5]

Weisenhorn, who fired first, has not been charged.[1] The District Attorney noted that Weisenhorn was not the officer who patted down Gifford, so it was possible that she believed Gifford to be armed.[6]

On March 8, 2021, Weisenhorn was fired.[7]

On October 20, 2021, Gifford's family filed a lawsuit against the officers, claiming violation of Gifford's rights under the Fourth Amendment for excessive force, and against the County and the Sheriff for training and oversight issues.[8][7]

In April 2022, the county reached a $9.5M settlement with the family which also requires improved use-of-force training.[1]

Video

The incident was recorded by the officers' body-worn cameras.[2]

Officers Involved


Official Reports

Additional Sources

References