JULESBURG — Steven Dye traced a finger across a row of damaged teeth — one of many injuries he says a sheriff’s deputy inflicted after stopping him for an improper lane change and then accusing him of resisting arrest.
“See, they’re all cracked,” he said. “I took good care of my body for 63 years. My mouth is a junkyard of broken teeth now. I still have backaches where I got kicked.”
He paused, hesitating to mention another ailment he attributes to a kick in the groin. “I can’t control my urine,” he said. “That’s really sad to say.”
In Sedgwick County, a burly deputy’s alleged July 4 beating of Dye, a disabled 63-year-old Julesburg man who lives with his mother, is fueling an unusual citizens’ campaign. Next week, county voters will decide whether to recall Randy Peck, the sheriff they elected just last year.
Critics of the new sheriff contend a wild-West law enforcement style has seized the northeastern corner of Colorado, in a county where one-fourth of its 2,379 residents are retirees and school vandalism is front-page news.
Jess Smith, a retired Colorado State Patrol officer who hopes to replace Peck as sheriff, points to the traffic stop that put Dye in an emergency room as exhibit A of deputies gone wild.
“I was in kind of shock,” Smith said. “I’ve known Steve for 10 years. He don’t drink. He don’t carouse. He don’t chase women. The highlight of his life is going to bingo games with his mother.”
If Steven Dye was armed at the time, maybe he could have protected himself from the police brutality he suffered. Same for the OWS protesters. There has been a lot of blatant police brutality in Denver and other cities where peaceful protesters have been brutally attacked by over-zealous police officers. If all the protesters were armed, maybe the police would think twice about pepper-spraying them.
The police department is a socialized entity paid for with tax dollars. The police belong to unions and are paid salaries far higher than what the free market would bring. Most private police are paid less than $10 an hour. Maybe this is a case where privatization makes sense.