DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Police Department bodycam video has been released in the Nov. 4 kidnapping case of 25-year-old Jose Salguero-Martinez after a public records request from the Problem Solvers.
The video appears to show self-proclaimed bounty hunter William Holland bluff a DPD officer with what Arapahoe County prosecutors later said was bogus paperwork designed to look like an immigration bond.
Internal affairs for DPD opened a case on Nov. 16 following inquires from FOX31 to learn why its officers walked away from the kidnapping of Salguero-Martinez hours before Aurora Police rescued Salguero-Martinez and arrest two of his captors.
Arapahoe County prosecutors have charged 34-year-old Brandon Sharp and 40-year-old William Holland with counts of first- and second-degree kidnapping.
Prosecutors believe the suspects kidnapped Salguero-Martinez and held him for ransom, as part of an extortion attempt based on Salguero-Martinez’s undocumented status.
What bounty hunter claimed as reason for holding Salguero-Martinez
As FOX31 first reported Salguero-Martinez was kidnapped by five armed men, who barged into his apartment Nov. 4 and handcuffed him in front of his wife and kids. Holland posted a portion of the incident on Instagram, where one of the captors can be heard asking Holland “so he (Salguero-Martinez) wants to know why he’s going to jail?” Holland responded, “We’ll talk to him. We’ll talk to him. He missed court that’s why.”
That was never true. John Fabbricatore, the Denver field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the Problem Solvers Salguero-Martinez had not missed court.
“That was one of the things that one my ICE officers was able to confirm with Aurora PD, that we were not looking for this person we knew where he was and he had been compliant with his bond procedures,” said Fabbricatore.
Yet, on the night of Nov. 4, William Holland, Brandon Sharp and three other unidentified men took Salguero-Martinez to a Best Western Hotel and allegedly told relatives of Salguero-Martinez they could make his problems with ICE go away if the family came up with $1,500 in cash.
Salguero-Martinez’s aunt paid the money plus $250 the suspects demanded to cover the hotel room, but when the suspects demanded another $5,000, the family called DPD.
Denver police officer speaks with parties involved
Bodycam video shows DPD arriving in the parking lot of the Best Western Hotel where they meet William Holland and tell him they’re investigating a possible kidnapping.
Holland responds that he’s a bounty hunter and is holding Salguero-Martinez on an immigration hold. “You want to see the paperwork, it’s in the room with him,” Holland said. An unidentified DPD officer responds, “That would be great. I’ll just go make sure he’s okay and we’ll check that stuff so that way we’re good.”
As the officer and Holland walk into the hotel, the officer asks, “So let me ask you, why are you guys set up here (in a hotel) it just seems … (William Holland): “Because Immigrations, if you don’t get there by business hours, you have to hold him. We’re going to bring him (to ICE) first thing in the morning.” (DPD officer): “Okay, got it.”
Prosecutors believe Holland had no intention of bringing Salguero-Martinez to ICE the next day because there was no legal reason to do so but inside the hotel room Holland points at Salguero-Martinez sitting on a bed and states, “This guy’s being taken care of, we fed him, he’s cool.”
The police officer looks at Salguero-Martinez and asks, “You okay?” but doesn’t get much of a response from the 25-year-old who speaks limited English.
Holland then shows the officer his so-called bond paperwork and the officer asks, “What was the bond originally for?” And Holland responds, “We don’t know. We just know it was out of New York.”
The officer then tries talking to Salguero-Martinez but there is an obvious language barrier.
DPD officer: “Okay what did you do wrong in New York, what were you in trouble for?”
Salguero-Martinez: “I don’t live in New York.”
DPD officer: “No, no what happened, what did you get in trouble for, why did you get in trouble in New York?”
Salguero-Martinez: “I never go to New York.”
The DPD officer never attempted to get a Spanish-language interpreter and instead seems satisfied with whatever Holland told him.
If the officer had run a background check on Holland, he might’ve discovered the 40-year-old has six active criminal cases including two separate incidents of impersonating a police officer.
At one point, the officer asks Holland, “Has she (victim’s aunt) paid you guys any money for anything?” Holland responds, “No.” The officer said, “Okay because that was the other hiccup. She’s saying she gave you guys like two grand.” Holland responded, “No.”
When the officer went outside to speak with the aunt of Salguero-Martinez she said, “I’m sorry, not speak very perfect” and the officer responds, “That’s okay.”
Again, the video makes it clear there’s a language barrier but the aunt makes it clear she did in fact pay $1,500 to Holland to secure her nephew’s release.
Aunt: “$1,500 give him just now.”
DPD officer: “Just now?”
Aunt: “Yah, correct.”
DPD officer: “Cash?”
DPD officer: “Cause it’s not in the room. I just talked to them. They can’t take money.”
The officer appears to assume there was no money exchanged based on the word of the alleged kidnappers but the bodycam video never shows the officer in the hotel room attempting to find out if the men have $1,500 in cash on them or not.
Meanwhile, the aunt insists to the DPD officer she was extorted for money in the hotel parking lot.
DPD officer: “Okay, I’m going to go check the cameras.”
DPD officer: “Because they (the surveillance cameras) have this whole parking lot. (Pointing to the area where money was exchanged) Right there?”
Aunt: “Yes, right there.”
The bodycam video ends moments later so the Problem Solvers can’t say if the officer ever checked Best Western Hotel cameras but we do know he never called ICE to confirm what the bounty hunters were telling him.
How Aurora police got involved
“In a situation like this where there was not immediate communication, something horrible may have occurred. Thankfully Aurora PD was able to reach out to one of my ICE officers to get the confirmation that this was not someone we had targeted,” said Fabbricatore.
Salguero-Martinez later told Aurora Police officers that despite his limited English, he overheard the bounty hunters talking about whether they should kill him when his family refused to hand over more money.
Instead, the bounty hunters moved Salguero-Martinez to the Radisson Hotel in Aurora.
That’s when Salguero-Martinez’s family called the Aurora Police Department who determined a kidnapping had taken place and arrested Holland and Sharp. The other alleged accomplices had fled the hotel before APD arrived.
The internal affairs investigation being conducted by DPD is expected to take several months.