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2nd police beating victim: 'It's like the Wild, Wild West'

9:24 PM, Aug 23, 2010   |    comments
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"It's like the Wild, Wild West with the judge, the jury and the executioner right there on the streets," Jared Lunn said.

Hours before tendering his resignation on Monday, Denver Manager of Safety Ron Perea rescinded the 45-day suspension he had given Officer Eric Sellers in the Lunn case. That means the case will be investigated by Denver Police again, and there could be a different outcome.

Lunn, who is a volunteer firefighter in Brighton, had just bought some pizza at Two Fisted Mario's Pizza on Market Street, near the 16th Street Mall, on Nov. 23, 2008 when a drunk man knocked the pizza out of his hand then punched him in the face because he thought Lunn was flirting with his girlfriend.

When Lunn saw Sellers walk up, he told him he was a volunteer firefighter, hadn't had anything to drink and asked him to arrest the man for assault. Lunn says Sellers said no.

"He goes, 'Get in that car and get out of here,'" Lunn said. "And so I'm getting in the car and I had my back to him and I said, 'Way to protect and serve.'"

Lunn says Sellers then grabbed him and put him in a carotid choke - a lethal move that cuts off blood flow.

"I could pretty much feel my eyes popping out of my head and had a splitting headache. I had to basically go limp to have the guy let go of me," Lunn said. "About that time, they kicked my legs out from under me and they slammed me on the ground and the whole time the guy was screaming obscenities in my ear and telling me this and that and just wrenching the cuffs back and forth."

Lunn says he suffered cuts and deep bruises along his arms and wrists.

After Sellers let him go, Lunn says another officer told one of his friends, "Your buddy just got f-d up by the toughest cop in Denver."

Lunn went home, called the police and filed a report that night. He wasn't told about Seller's punishment in the case until recently. Perea suspended Seller's 45 days without pay for using "inappropriate force" and "commission of a deceptive act."

Lunn isn't sure what punishment he wants for Sellers. For a long time, he just hoped for an apology, but it never came. Now Lunn is planning on filing a civil suit with his attorney Lonn Heymann.

"If you have a bunch of old school guys that are out there busting skulls, the new kids are going to come up busting skulls too. And that's not the way to run a department," Lunn said.

Lunn was never arrested and has no criminal history.

Monday morning, the police department called Sellers into the station and told him his case is being reopened. Sellers has been on the force since 1995.

His attorney says Sellers maintains he was not the officer who hit and swore at Lunn that night, but Lunn doesn't believe it.

"He must have a bad memory, because it was definitely him. I can remember his face vividly. I'll never forget," Lunn said.

If you have any news tips or video, please e-mail Investigative Reporter Deborah Sherman at Deborah.Sherman@9NEWS.com.

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