DENVER — A Denver Police captain who was caught on video shoving a fan at a Rockies game at Coors Field has been demoted.
On July 22, video was posted to Facebook that showed Joe Black shoving Alex Buck, 22, three times while trying to get him to cooperate with questioning. The video then went viral.
Buck’s co-worker, Patrick Benson, said Buck was stopped when stadium staff assumed there was underage drinking.
When Buck does not sit down as ordered, Black is seen shoving Buck multiple times. Buck demands to be shoved again and then is handcuffed.
“All he had to do is shut up and he would have left,” the officer can be heard saying.
Buck then shouted about his rights and when asked if he had been drinking, he says, “I’ve had three beers at Coors Field in Colorado of the United States of America.”
At the end of the video, another officer can be heard saying Buck was being ejected for trespassing because he refused to leave.
A 15-page disciplinary letter says Black used inappropriate force and didn't file a use-of-force report, something that is mandatory whenever an officer has a physical confrontation with a suspect.
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Black's wife told the Denver Post that her husband will appeal the demotion, which was handed down last week in a letter and comes with a yearly loss of pay in the thousands.
"Joe has worked off duty for over 30 years and has never had one sustained complaint," Leslie Black said in an email to the Post. "A two minute video doesn't warrant a conviction when the altercation lasted 30 minutes. So, does everyone matter? Obviously not, since they don't stand by their officers."
Black was involved in another incident in July in which he destroyed a homeless man's sign that read "Need weed." Black was found to have violated the man's First Amendment rights and was suspended four days.
Combined with the incident at Coors Field, Chief Robert White felt the demotion to lieutenant was in order.
Black now supervises officers at the front desk of the police department's headquarters. He had been a commander of the juvenile division.