We have a couple of updates pertaining to the story of MMA fighter Donovan Duran, whom as Bloody Elbow wrote in January, was reportedly paralyzed from the chest down following an altercation with La Junta, Colorado police in a December 7th, 2015 arrest for drunk and disorderly conduct. At the time of the article, it was noted that two of the officers in the incident could have faced criminal charges.
Last month (per the Denver Post), a grand jury declined to indict Sgt. Vince Fraker and Officer John McMillian on any criminal charges. Duran himself was never charged with anything in the initial arrest, which stemmed from family members calling "authorities to report him being drunk and in need of help." More details on the grand jury's decision (plus Duran's injuries) were revealed in a follow-up Denver Post article from last week.
"The grand jurors wrote in a report that while Fraker was responsible for Duran's injuries — a fractured neck that left him paralyzed from his nipples down — when he rolled him out of a La Junta police SUV, it "cannot be the basis of any criminal charges."
The grand jury, however, called Duran's injuries 'tragic.'"
Denver Post has since obtained body cam footage of both the original arrest, then the subsequent incident which led to Duran's paralysis. You can watch the video (which warns you of graphic content at the start) at the top of the page. When Duran is ordered out of the car by officers, he appears to try and slip his handcuffs, and Fraker forcibly removed him and put him on the ground head-first, which presumably is what cause Duran's neck to fracture. Despite officer commands for him to stand up, Duran was unable to do so. They then lifted and placed him on a wheelchair at the Arkansas Valley Medical Center. Duran can be heard moaning in pain throughout the entire confrontation, and claimed that "he writhed in pain and panicked from a lack of feeling in his lower body for hours as he sought help from security and medical staff."
According to the Denver Post article, Duran's attorneys have filed a federal lawsuit against both officer Fraker, as well as the city of La Junta.
"La Junta Police Department training of officers does not include proper training in responding to calls involving persons in crisis or with obvious mental health problems, including use of force policies and de-escalation strategies," the lawsuit says.
The filing also adds: "Fraker's use of excessive force as described above herein was outrageous and shocking to the conscience, in violation of Duran's substantive due process rights."
Duran made his professional MMA debut in March 2015, losing his debut by 1st round TKO.