DENVER — Scandals at the Denver Sheriff Department continue to grow as yet another jail house videotape of excessive force is released.
This happened the same week Denver agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle a different excessive force case.
This case involves a deputy who was fired after investigators saw the videotape and say he hit the inmate… even though there was no threat.
But at a hearing Thursday, the deputy argued that he should get his job back.
Denver Sheriff deputy Steven Valerio was fired because of what you see in the jailhouse videotape.
It shows him punch an inmate in the face and then slam him into a concrete desk. He threw him on the floor and handcuffed him. The inmate was then lifted the by the handcuffs.
The disciplinary report says Valerio used excessive force and then lied about what happened in effort to try to cover it up.
Valerio had no comment as he and his attorney left a city hearing about his case Thursday. Valerio is asking to be reinstated as a Denver Sheriff deputy.
Valerio claims he acted in self-defense and was just confuse, not lying, when he wrote his reports.
“We all have to hold ourselves accountable,” Interim Sheriff Elias Diggins says.
Diggins this week talked about the series of scandals rocking the Sheriff Department.
Some of the harshest criticism has to do with the way the department handles internal affairs investigations.
Despite the obvious videotape evidence in Valerio’s case, he wasn’t fired until April of this year. That’s 17 months after the incident. Reaching the appeal hearing that took place Thursday was an additional three months.
Diggins says fixing this process is a top priority. “Figuring out how to expedite the internal affairs process… justice should be fair but justice should also be swift.”
The case will keep dragging on. The hearing officer is not expected to decide whether Valerio gets his job back for at least 45 days.