PARKER, Colo. -- The father of a New York Yankees prospect claims a family celebration abruptly ended when bouncers at a Parker, Colorado restaurant attacked him and when Parker police repeatedly used a stun gun on him.
Joe Honahan was celebrating the night the New York Yankees organization signed his son, minor league pitcher Tyler Honahan, in June 2016. The rookie Honahan currently pitches for the Pulaski Yankees.
The elder Honahan recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Tailgate Tavern, the tavern's bouncers and several Parker police officers.
According to the case, the fracas began moments after a bouncer asked Joe Honahan to finish his drink around closing time.
Surveillance video, obtained by Honahan’s attorney, shows bouncers grabbing the father and removing him from the restaurant. Once he was outside, Parker police officers used a stun gun on Honahan multiple times, according to the lawsuit.
“This is just the lack of any use of common sense, both by the staff at this tavern and by the police," said Honahan’s attorney Birk Baumgartner. "It looks like a scene out of Road House and it's unnecessary."
Police lapel camera video, also obtained by Honahan's attorney, captured the emotional wreckage that resulted from the ordeal.
In one clip, Honahan is seen pinned to the ground outside the bar.
Officer: "Listen to us when we say 'police department' and stop fighting us!"
Honahan: "(unintelligible) I'm not fighting you."
Officer: "I know you're not now. Relax!"
Honahan: "I did nothing wrong."
“He was, in every sense of the word, prostrate and in need of help ... instead of receiving help, he received a beating," Baumgartner said of the police officers' actions that night.
The Parker Police Department, saying "professionalism, transparency and public trust are paramount," responded to the nearly month-old case for the first time on Wednesday after Denver-based KMGH started asking questions. In a statement, a spokesperson said the department investigated Honahan’s complaint and determined officers did not violate any department policies. It reads in part:
“Public safety is the foundation upon which the Parker Police Department is built. This, above all else, is the Department’s number one goal in serving the residents of Parker. When our officers respond to a scene, ensuring the safety of victims, suspects and officers is of the utmost importance.
"Immediately following the complaint by Mr. Honahan, the Parker Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards thoroughly investigated this incident. The internal investigation included reviewing body worn camera video footage from all officers on scene, as well as video from inside the establishment where the alleged incident occurred. In addition, interviews were conducted with each of the officers who were on scene, as well as with witnesses who were present. Upon conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that the officers did not violate any policies of the Parker Police Department."
"We look forward to the public being able to see all of the evidence from this case in a court of law,” the department tweeted Wednesday.
A misdemeanor charge of obstruction filed against Joe Honahan was dismissed. Honahan’s attorney said the family has since moved out of Colorado, largely because of the incident. He sent a written statement to KMGH reading:
“What was supposed to be a family celebration memorializing the acceptance of my son into a major league baseball organization, turned into a nightmare when I was attacked for absolutely no reason by two bouncers. Instead of helping me, as we all expect the police to do, the Parker police officers in this case decided to join in the senseless attack on me for absolutely no reason, and without even trying to figure out what was going on.
"We all trust the police with our safety and we rely on them to help us when we need it. I cannot express my level of disappointment and sense of betrayal by the Parker Police Department. Not only did they not help me, they attacked me for no reason, and then tried to cover up their actions by charging me with a crime they knew I was innocent of. This conduct is shameful and contrary to the oath every police officer takes. My family and I want to see these officers held accountable for their actions and we want to be sure that they can never do something like this to any other person or family.”
The Tailgate Tavern did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
When asked if the officers' and bouncers' actions amounted to overkill, Honahan's attorney said they did.
"I can't imagine how any reasonable person could view this in any other way," he said.