Kyle Termin, who is awaiting trial at the Boulder County Jail, is accusing Boulder County jail deputies of beating him in a lawsuit filed this week in Boulder County District Court.
Body camera footage provided by Termin’s lawyer, Scott Jurdem, shows deputies punching and kicking Termin during an incident in April. Jail officials were aware at the time that Termin suffers from mental illness that impacts his behavior, Jurdem said.
“That video and that behavior was just shocking,” he said. “The proper way to handle (behavioral issues related to mental illness) is not to go in and severely beat him.”
The lawsuit names Boulder County Jail Deputies Gene Taylor, Mario Moore and Don Sheppard, as well as Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.
The sheriff’s office hasn’t been served yet with the lawsuit, but an incident involving Termin is the subject of an active internal investigation, according to a written statement from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.
“The sheriff’s office takes allegations of misconduct by its employees seriously and will await the outcome of the investigation to determine what actions, if any, are appropriate with respect to the incident,” according to the statement.
Jurdem said Termin, who is homeless, was in the Boulder County jail in 2020 when he was found incompetent to stand trial and was sent to the state hospital to receive treatment. He improved after taking medication and was released from jail for time served, he said.
“Records in jail showed that he really was a model inmate when he returned after treatment and was on medication,” Jurdem said.
But after his release, he stopped taking his medication and received four court summons, three for shoplifting and one for assault, all misdemeanors, Jurdem said.
After failing to appear in court, he was sent to jail in November to await trial on the misdemeanors. While in jail, he was accused of spitting on an officer, a felony, while the officer was trying to restrain him. Jurdem said Termin’s behavior had deteriorated because of his untreated mental illness.
During the April 4 incident captured on the body camera, Termin was alone in a locked room when he spit on the window as deputy Taylor walked by, Jurdem said. Taylor responded by bringing in two other officers and repeatedly punching him and, after he fell to the ground, kicking him, Jurdem said.
Deputy Sheppard held Termin’s arms, preventing him from protecting himself, while Deputy Moore failed to intervene, according to the lawsuit. Termin also was handcuffed, in leg irons with a belly chain, and wearing only underwear and flip flops when the incident happened, according to the lawsuit.
Jurdem said the deputies should have responded to the aggressive behavior by arranging for emergency treatment, allowing a doctor to determine what was needed.
“We would like to see a change in the way the jail is dealing with people with mental disabilities,” he said. “The way he is treated is not the way people in this community would want to see people with mental disabilities treated.”