Man shoved by Fort Collins officer in YouTube clip convicted by jury
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A Loveland man who felt he was assaulted by a police officer during a disagreement in Fort Collins received little sympathy from a jury last week when he was convicted of obstructing and resisting arrest.
Matt Hefferon rose to internet infamy after a video shot and posted by his friend, Josh Culip, went viral on YouTube. The video, which has been set to private and disabled from public view, showed the aftermath of a disagreement Hefferon and two friends were having with a pedi-cab driver.
According to police reports, the group of friends was arguing with a pedi-cab driver after a taillight had accidentally been broken. That’s when officers were called to the scene.
The video begin with Officer Dean Calahan arguing with Hefferon. At one point in the video Calahan yelled, “Get back” to Hefferon and pushed him. The second officer on the scene, Officer Kyle Bendzsa, rushed in to help and pushed Hefferon’s two friends away from the confrontation.
The video, which gained local, national and international attention, resulted in an internal investigation by police Chief John Hutto. Both Calahan and Bendzsa were cleared of any wrongdoing and both remain on the job.
Hefferon was sentenced to a year of probation for the two convictions. He was acquitted of two additional charges of tampering and criminal mischief.
According to the Coloradoan, Hefferon and both friends have said that they will file federal civil rights lawsuits against police for the incident.