A Denver deputy sheriff linked to Michael Marshall’s high-profile death in jail in 2015 was fired this month for hitting a handcuffed man facedown on the floor of a city courthouse earlier this year.
On October 7, officials from the Department of Public Security fired Bret Garignani in connection with an incident at the courthouse on 8 March. The city officials found that Garegnani did not try to reduce the escalation of the situation or use less harsh tactics, but instead committed “serious and abusive behavior.”
According to disciplinary documents obtained by The Denver Post at the request of the public archives, Garignani never admitted that he acted inappropriately during the seven-month disciplinary process.
“It is notable that (the handcuffed man) was not seriously injured as a result of this incident,” wrote Denver Deputy Director of Public Security Mary Dulatzky in a disciplinary letter to Garignani. “However, the risk of death or serious injury cannot be underestimated, especially in circumstances such as here, when a prisoner handcuffed behind his back was knocked to the ground face forward and a 350-pound deputy was piled on top of him.”
Dulatzki noted that Garegnani “must be well aware of the potential risks associated with the use of force” due to his involvement in the death of Marshall in 2015, who died nine days after suffocating with vomit during the November 11, 2015 fight with Garegnani. and other MPs at the Detention Center in the city center.
Marshall was in jail on $ 100 bail for disturbance and intrusion, and had a psychotic episode when MPs lashed out at him, trying to hold him back after he tried to leave the room.
Public security leaders tried to suspend Garegnani for 16 days for continuing to put pressure on Marshall’s upper body even after the nurses asked him to stop. Gargnani successfully challenged this discipline and it was overturned by the Career Services Directorate. No MP has been disciplined or charged in connection with Marshall’s death, although the city has paid the Marshall family $ 4.6 million in compensation.
The March incident at the courthouse began when Garegnani was called into a 4G courtroom to take a man into custody, according to Garegnani’s disciplinary letter. The man, who is identified in the documents only by his initials, tried to leave the courtroom when he was sent to the pre-trial detention center. But Garignani stopped him and escorted him to the door in the courtroom, which leads to the rooms that the MPs use to hold people during the court hearings.
The man continued to scream as he was handcuffed and taken into a small corridor between the courtroom and the detention center. Video of the incident shows a handcuffed man walking into a corridor with doors at both ends and turning sharply towards Garenani and another MP who follows him. Garegnani pushed the man against the wall, then lifted him by the back of his jacket and by the legs and threw him face down on the ground.
The video shows that two deputies pinned the man facedown to the ground for 2.5 minutes and then rolled him onto his side. The handcuffed man was taken out of the room in a wheelchair because he said he could not walk. The man was not seriously injured.
Garignani reported that he used force on this man because he “suddenly and aggressively turned to me and started aggressively walking towards me” and seemed to try to escape again.
“Then I take (that person) under my control and rule him to the ground,” Garegnani wrote in his initial report, describing his actions.
The man was approximately 5-8 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds, according to Garignani, and said he was 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed about 350 pounds. According to Garignani, the deputies have not yet searched the man for weapons.
Later, after watching the video, Garignani told investigators that he still believed the deletion was correct. Garignani joined the sheriff’s department in 2008.
“I feel like I handled it just like I was taught to handle situations like this,” Garignani told investigators, according to the letter.
Dulacki disagreed. She found that instead, Garegnani should have tried to reduce the aggravation of the situation by talking to the person or calling for more help. The risk of the man escaping the small room was minimal because his hands were cuffed behind his back and there were two deputies next to him. Dulacki said Garegnani’s decision to forcibly keep the man on the ground for a few minutes after the murder was dubious at best.
“MP Garegnani was unable to make a reasonable decision based on common sense and common sense when he unnecessarily carried out a murder (a man) when he was handcuffed behind his back, which could damage a vital part of his body (head) to hit the ground “, – the letter says.
Garegnani’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Both the handcuffed man and the Denver Sheriff’s Department captain noted the incident for consideration by the Administrative Investigation Department.
“He just felt better knowing that his job was to protect me and serve me,” the man told investigators, according to the disciplinary letter. “Its’ his job. But he did not protect or serve me. “