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Officers will not be charged in death of Colorado bike fitter

Published August 26, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BRAIN) — The El Paso County District Attorney's Office will not charge Colorado Springs police involved in the death of a professional bike fitter and former Colorado Cyclist product line manager who died in custody.

The 4th Judicial office found that five officers used "reasonable and appropriate" force in subduing Chad Burnett, 49, during an arrest following a disturbance call on May 24. The district attorney's report said heart disease, which was noted in the El Paso County Coroner's report but unknown to officers, contributed to the death.

According to the coroner's report, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Burnett died after police used a Taser when he resisted arrest. The coroner said because the death occurred during the altercation and involved a Taser, it was homicide but did not necessarily imply criminal intent.

The report said Burnett died "as a result of sudden death associated with physical altercation, Taser deployment, cardiac hypertrophy with myocardial fibrosis, and bipolar disorder featuring acute psychotic episode."

He suffered blunt force injuries, including a muscular hemorrhage to the side and front of his head, and abrasions and contusions to the face, torso and upper and lower extremities, according to the coroner's report. Alcohol also was in his system postmortem, but the amount was not listed.

Neighbors called police to the 2700 block of Ashgrove Street about Burnett, who was threatening another neighbor with a knife. Body cam footage showed officers first speaking with Burnett outside his home before chasing him inside and tackling him. Resisting arrest, officers Tasered Burnett.

About nine minutes later, Burnett was limp. Two officers checked for his pulse and both said they felt one. Six minutes later, they rolled him on his back and three officers were shown taking turns doing chest compressions as the video ended. Burnett was pronounced dead at the scene.

Burnett left Colorado Cyclist last November to start a mobile bike-fitting business, Chaz Pro Bike Fit. On the Chaz Pro Bike Fit website, Burnett said he was a 20-year industry veteran.

Chad Burnett died in police custody May 24.

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