Criminal Justice, Scott Weiser, Transparency, Uncategorized

Elbert County Sheriff releases bodycam video in death of troubled veteran Christopher Poer

ELBERT COUNTY—Newly-elected Elbert County Sheriff Tim Norton just released bodycam video of the death of 46-year-old Special Forces veteran Christopher “Matt” Poer during a confrontation with deputies April 12, 2018.

The video had been requested by CBS4 in Denver last year in a Colorado Open Records Act request to former Sheriff Shayne Heap. According to CBS4, Heap refused to release the video “citing a litany of reasons to keep the video under wraps” including revealing “details of security procedures or how officers will prepare, engage or react in any given situation.”

Reversing Heap’s suppression of the video, Norton told CBS4 that he saw no security issues in the video that should preclude its public release. According to CBS4, undersheriff Dave Fisher “shared the 30 minute video with CBS4 hoping to dispel rumors and suspicion that have surrounded Poer’s death at the hands of Elbert County deputies.”

Sheriff’s deputies were called to the residence by Poer–said by family to suffer from PTSD–who was staying temporarily with service dog trainer Elaine Holt.

Poer was reportedly hallucinating and delusional, according to Holt.

When deputies arrived Poer was armed with a .25 caliber handgun and was wandering in an open field, firing shots. Deputies found him lying in the field and picked up a handgun. But Poer failed to respond to their commands to show his hands and deputies used a taser to try to incapacitate him so they could take him into custody.

After doing so, deputies noticed Poer was not responding and called to expedite the medical aid they had requested “just to check him out,” and after starting CPR.

CBS4 reports, “The coroner said Poer’s death was associated with amphetamine intoxication, an enlarged heart and the Taser deployment.” Poer never regained consciousness and died later at the hospital.

The actions of the deputies were found to be within department policy after an investigation.

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