FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. — Federal Heights police officers knew one of their own, 51-year-old Cpl. Mark Magness, had “anger issues.” That anger turned violent on Dec. 6.
Dramatic body camera video obtained by FOX31 Problem Solvers shows Magness dragging 48-year-old suspect Kent Lasnik from a Federal Heights patrol car after his arrest for allegedly attacking a local liquor store clerk.
Magness told his supervisors as he was leading a handcuffed Lasnik to a booking area he “stumbled into [a] refrigerator.” The cut Lasnik suffered from the “stumble” would later require stitches at a nearby hospital to close a gash on his chin.
Lasnik is uncuffed and placed in a holding cell as Magness shouts obscenities at Lasnik. At one point, Lanik raises his hand in Magness’ face and the beating starts.
According to prosecutors, Magness struck Lasnik seven times while on a bench in the holding cell. He’s hit another five times after he’s dragged to the floor and handcuffed again.
Audio and video from Romero’s body camera show him trying to calm down Magness as he throws a restraint chair across the room.
Magness replies “F*** that, F*** that.” Once he’s thrown into the restraint chair, Magness applies pressure to Lasnik’s head and temple. Lasnik screams in pain as Magness pushes deeper into pressure points under his chin and left eye.
Magness is heard on body camera telling Lasnik, “You picked the wrong cop to fight with, man. I can tell you THAT right now!”
The end of the video obtained shows paramedics arriving at the booking station. Lasnik is strapped to a gurney and taken to the hospital.
Magness can be heard telling his supervisor, “Yeah, I busted him up. … I take full responsibility.”
Later that night, Romero told his supervisor that “it didn’t look good” and a sergeant would “probably have to review the tapes.”
Federal Heights police started an internal investigation and Magness was fired later that month. Earlier this year, the Adams County District Attorney’s Office charged Magness with assault.
Warning signs about Magness’ anger were evident for years.
This is the second time Magness has been accused of assault while wearing a Federal Heights police uniform. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of throwing a person to the ground, nearly breaking his arm.
Public records show the man later called 911 and Magness returned to the scene claiming he had no idea what had happened. Current Police Chief Karl Wilmes did not hold that position in 2009 but told FOX31 Problem Solvers on Tuesday that he has “no idea why [Magness] was kept on” with the department after that incident.
Even Romero told Adams County prosecutors, “Officer Magness has had a history of being very aggressive with suspects.” Romero elaborates, telling prosecutors, “He’s been told he’s had anger issues before and like I say, it’s taken a SGT or another officer to do it and there’s been time where he’s able himself to calm down.”
For the recent jail beating, Magness pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was placed on one year probation by an Adams County court in June. Lasnik was also charged with misdemeanor assault. He has retained an attorney who says they are considering civil action.