DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis announced clemency for 24 people on Thursday, including a state trooper charged after he pointed a gun at a woman driver.

Jay Hemphill pleaded guilty this year to misdemeanor menacing, according to the governor’s letter to the trooper. The incident happened on Aug. 25, 2021. Polis commuted his sentence and granted a pardon of the conviction.

Longtime trooper protected Ritter from gunman

“You were a model trooper with an impeccable record. You made a mistake in a brief instant when you thought you were under threat, and no one was physically harmed,” Polis wrote in a letter to Hemphill about the incident that led to his conviction.

Hemphill had been with Colorado State Patrol since 1995 and worked at the state Capitol since 1998.

He was previously honored for killing an armed gunman who walked into the Capitol and the temporary offices of Gov. Bill Ritter on July 16, 2007. At the time, Hemphill was assigned to protect the governor.

Hemphill was notified of the suspicious man by a staff member who pushed a button to notify agents. That man, 32-year-old Aaron Snyder, was wearing a tuxedo and claimed he was going to take over the state government. The district attorney’s office in Denver found the shooting to be justified.

“This mistake should not define your career or detract from your act of heroism in protecting Governor Bill Ritter from a gunman,” Polis wrote. “I hope this commutation and pardon open doors to new opportunities for you.”

See the list below for the other people who received clemency.

Polis commutations in Colorado, 2022

  • Michael Clifton
  • Sidney Cooley
  • Robin Farris
  • Sean Marshall

Polis pardons in Colorado, 2022

  • Vicente Antillon
  • Marla Bautista
  • Jay Biesemeier
  • Wendy Biesemeier
  • William Bray
  • Joseph Burns
  • Daniel Collins
  • Carey Davidson
  • Samuel DeBono
  • Caleb Haley
  • Mark Harmon
  • Walter Hooton
  • Charles Hurlburt
  • Tell Jones
  • John Krause
  • Terrence Miller
  • Steven Thomas
  • Staci Tillman
  • Ryan Tomka