Officially, the death of a Colorado man who was being held by crisis response team members last fall while he was being physically restrained has been ruled a murder. However, no charges will be brought against him.
According to a Colorado Springs police report, a man was “experiencing mental health episodes” on the evening of November 15. A Community Response Team, which included a paramedic, a mental health practitioner, and a police officer, was dispatched to investigate.
The CRT arrived to find Kevin Dizmang (63), wandering through traffic and possibly engaging in suicidal behavior. The footage from the bodycam shows that Dizmang behaved erratically, resisting an officer who tried to place handcuffs upon him. Another member of the team directed traffic.
Dizmang refused to obey the officer’s commands. A man wearing a red jacket was later identified as the paramedic and restrained Dizmang before bringing him to the ground. The officer had placed Dizmang under arrest and the man stopped moving.
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Dizmang never regained consciousness. CRT members performed CPR on the scene and Dizmang was quickly transported to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.
An autopsy report now declares Dizmang’s death from cardiopulmonary arrest a murder. Five doctors signed an autopsy report acknowledging that Dizmang died from cardiopulmonary arrest. They also noted Dizmang had a history of COPD, asthma, and obesity. Dizmang also had PTSD, depression, and anxiety, as well as previous encounters with law enforcement. Tests for toxicology revealed that Dizmang was using meth when he died.
Because Dizmang was restrained, the death is now classified as a homicide. The report stated that physical restraint contributed to the death’s cause and was considered a method of homicide.
The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office reviewed the bodycam footage to determine that CRT personnel’s actions were legal, despite the classification of homicide. During the investigation, the officer and paramedic were both placed on paid administrative leaves. However, no criminal charges will now be filed.
Bakari Sellers and Harry Daniels, lawyers hired by the Dizmang families, attacked the CRT’s actions during Dizmang’s crisis. They claimed in a statement that the actions had “a haunting resemblance to George Floyd’s 2020 death at the hands of officers of the Minneapolis Police Department.”
Daniels added that “the people who came to his aid are the ones who ended up killing him.”