DENVER (KDVR) — Law enforcement and prosecutors will work together to determine if criminal charges will be filed against a security guard hired as a contractor by 9NEWS. That guard, identified as Matthew Dolloff, is an employee of Pinkerton. Dolloff is accused of killing a man on Saturday during protests in Denver. FOX31 is exploring what may or may not be used under Colorado law as a potential defense for Dolloff.
“There are no clear and absolute bright lines with the doctrine of self-defense,” said criminal defense attorney Christopher Decker.
Decker said a person in Colorado can protect themselves or someone else from what they reasonably believe to be the use– or imminent use– of unlawful force. They may use a degree of force reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
“No one can really tell, until or unless [a crime was] charged, and a jury would determine the reasonableness of the circumstance,” Decker explained.
In Colorado, deadly force can be used only if person reasonably believes that a lesser degree of force is inadequate and that person reasonably believes that they or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or about to sustain great bodily injury.
“That pepper spray may cause great bodily injury. [It] could blind you,” Decker said.
Decker said we don’t know if the person who was killed had a gun. Legally, that could be important. The public also doesn’t know if any threatening language was used by either man.
“There are a lot of nuances to the law of self-defense,” Decker said.
Decker said someone acting in the capacity of law enforcement or private security, and their training, are relevant to police and prosecutors when making decisions on conduct.