Shocking video that has gone viral shows Marine veteran Carl E. Andersen Jr. being tased twice and dragged away by a sheriff’s deputy and police officers while he was in the hospital room of his 19-month-old daughter. Editor’s note: To view the videos in this story, please turn off your ad blocker.
On April 17, 2019, Andersen’s daughter Charlotte was severely injured when his fiancé Carissa Hiteshew, who was five-months pregnant with his son at the time, accidentally struck her with a car, Andersen said. While his daughter’s injuries were not life-threatening, she suffered a crack in her skull that was serious, so she needed to be taken to an intensive care unit.
The infant girl was being treated in intensive care in Colorado Springs when a plain-clothes detective from the Teller County’s sheriff’s department entered her hospital room and demanded that both Anderson and Hiteshew hand over their phones without explaining why, Anderson said. When Andersen refused, the deputy came back with three officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department who were determined to get the phones through force, he said.
“When they walked into the room, it sort of felt like I was getting ready to go on patrol in Afghanistan,” Andersen told Task & Purpose. “I had just had this deep-seated feeling of: Well something is about to happen here and it’s not going to be good.”
Andersen served as a machine gunner in the Marine Corps from 2009 until 2013, according to a copy of his DD-214 discharge document. He left the Corps as a lance corporal and his last duty station was at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, where he served with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
He has filed a lawsuit against the city of Colorado Springs, Teller County, and the four officers involved in the altercation in his daughter’s hospital room. Representatives from Teller County and the Colorado Springs Police Department declined to comment for this story, citing the ongoing litigation.
In March, Ryan Doherty of the Colorado Springs City Attorney’s Office filed a motion asking that Andersen’s lawsuit be dismissed, arguing that Andersen had failed to demonstrate that the city had not adequately trained its police officers.
“These cops were not only never prosecuted; they were never fired; they were never disciplined in any way,” said Anderson’s attorney David Lane. “That’s because when the police investigate the police it always works out very well for the police.”
The situation in his daughter’s hospital room began after Andersen told the detective to get a warrant before he or his fiancé would hand over their cell phones, Andersen recalled.
“If he had come in and introduced himself and said: ‘I’m a Teller County detective; I need to check your phones; we want to make sure there is no evidence of child abuse;’ that’s a whole different story when you treat someone with respect,” Andersen said. “And that man did not treat anybody, including my fiancé, with respect.”
The detective briefly left the hospital room and then returned a few minutes later with three more police officers, Andersen said.
“We had told them earlier: Let us make sure that Charlotte is OK and then come back and we’ll answer your questions,” Andersen said. “When they came back, it was with force. They did not come back with intent to say: ‘Hey, you guys settled in yet? Can you answer some questions now?’ Nope. They came back looking for a fight.”
Lane provided Task & Purpose with body camera footage from two of the officers involved: Vito DelCore and Todd Eckert of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
The videos show how DelCore first attempted to take Andersen’s phone, but Andersen angrily backed away and said DelCore did not have the right to grab anything from his pocket. “You’re going to hit the ground hard,” DelCore responded.
Colorado Springs Police Officer Todd Eckert asked if Andersen could step out of the room, but Andersen refused to leave his daughter. “Just give us the phone and we’ll be done,” Eckert told Andersen.
Neither of the two videos show the moment when DelCore first drew his taser, but Andersen can be seen reacting by saying, “You’re going to tase me because I’m not going to give you my wife’s cell phone?”
After threatening to arrest Andersen for obstruction, DelCore stepped behind him and said, “I’m going to go behind you because I don’t want anybody behind you getting hurt.”
Suddenly DelCore and Eckert grab Andersen. One officer can be heard threatening to tase Andersen. His father tried to deescalate the situation by telling the officers, “Gentleman, gentleman ….”
A loud pop can be heard as DelCore fires his taser into Andersen’s back. Andersen yelled in pain, “Motherf**ker!”
As officers wrestle Andersen to the ground, Anderson’s father protested: “What you’re doing is not right!” DelCore responded by saying, “You’re going to get tased!”
DelCore then tased Andersen again in the leg as three others restrained him. “You guys are out of control,” Andersen’s father said.
At no point during his arrest or interrogation afterwards was Andersen read the Miranda warning, he said. The charges against him were later dropped.
The video showing Andersen’s arrest is making news at a time of several overlapping scandals involving allegations of police brutality. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd. Another former police officer in Minnesota, Kim Potter, has been charged with second degree murder for allegedly shooting Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. And body camera footage showed Chicago Police Officer Eric Stillman shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo.
But Andersen stressed that he supports law enforcement and is in no way suggesting that law enforcement be defunded.
“I do not hate police,” Andersen said. “I do not hate law enforcement. I have the utmost respect for local police and police across the nation. My point in what I’m doing in my lawsuit is that – even though you are a police officer, you still need to be held accountable for your actions.”
“What the police in my particular story – in my case – did was wrong, and they need to be held accountable,” he continued. “The point I’m trying to make is that if more officers were held accountable for their actions by other police – good police who are out there – we might be having a little less strife in our nation at the moment.”
Featured image: Body camera footage from Vito DelCore of the Colorado Springs Police Department showing Carl E. Andersen Jr. on April 17, 2019.