Denver Sheriff’s Deputy placed on leave after detainee incident

Denver Sheriff again

DENVER — Two veterans of the Denver County Sheriff’s Department have been placed on leave after an incident with a detainee, a department spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

Though the details were vague, the sheriff’s office issued a press release Wednesday afternoon, saying Deputy Sheriff Thomas Ford, who has been with the department six and a half years, was placed on investigative leave with pay for “inappropriate use of force.”

“The incident occurred the evening of July 13, during the book-in process of a detainee,” the press release indicated. “Sheriff Gary Wilson has requested an investigation of criminal charges against the officer, which will be decided by the Denver District Attorney’s Office.”

Officer William Lewis, who has been with the department for 12 years, was also placed on investigative leave with pay for “writing an inaccurate reported related to the inappropriate force incident,” the press release indicated.

The sheriff’s office did not disclose the identity of the involved detainee in an apparent effort “to preserve the integrity of the criminal and administrative investigation,” according to the press release.

FOX31 Denver reached out to the sheriff’s office Wednesday afternoon, asking if there is any video of the incident. A spokesperson indicated there may be video of the incident, but that it would not be released Wednesday.

FOX31 Denver’s Julie Hayden has confirmed that Ford was also involved in a 2011 videotaped incident involving excessive force used on another inmate, Jamal Hunter.

The incident led to an internal affairs investigation by the sheriff’s office, the suspension of two officers and a lawsuit filed by Hunter.

Ford was apparently part of a group of five officers seen banding together in an effort to subdue Hunter, who was on the ground before three of the officers arrived in the cell.

One deputy, Edward Keller, received a 30-day suspension for his involvement in the incident, which “involved a demonstrable, serious risk to the inmate” according to the internal affairs report. Keller is also named in Hunter’s civil suit.

Ford was not disciplined for his participation in the 2011 incident, nor was he named in Hunter’s lawsuit.