Aug 9, 2022 - News

Scoop: Denver sheriff gets 25-day suspension for hitting inmate

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Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A sheriff's deputy was suspended in late July for inappropriate use of force after hitting an inmate multiple times in the head at the Downtown Detention Center, according to records obtained by Axios Denver.

State of play: A review from the city's public safety department found that Denver Deputy Sheriff Michael Pablo violated department rules on use of force when he struck an inmate approximately 17 times with his fist in September 2021.

  • Pablo said he hit the inmate out of fear for his own safety after the inmate reached out toward Pablo and another deputy's neck and chest area, per the disciplinary record, after the inmate had been verbally combative.
  • But the safety department said the deputy should have known that strikes above the neck are not permitted unless deadly force is warranted, and since the inmate wasn't facing Pablo and was not deemed a threat as other deputies restrained him, Pablo should not have continued punching.
  • Pablo began serving his unpaid suspension on July 27.

Between the lines: Pablo, who has worked at the department since 2014, was given a 42-day suspension, but under an agreement with the city's public safety department, which oversees discipline, 17 days were held in abeyance.

  • This means those days won't be served as long as Pablo doesn't break department rules over the next two years.
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