THORNTON, Colo. (KDVR) — The Adams County District Attorney’s Office has dismissed a criminal charge against a man arrested for violating a restraining order meant to protect the mayor of Thornton.
Dariush Namazi was arrested on July 27 at an ice cream social event sponsored by the city of Thornton. Police said he got within 15 feet of Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann, a violation of the restraining order a judge granted her on July 18 after finding Namazi often violated the mayor’s personal space at prior city events.
FOX31 has previously reported on Daruish Namazi, known to dress up as a MAGA character named “Danny Kulmann” who trolls the Republican mayor at Thornton events.
Just hours after the Problem Solvers interviewed Namazi on Tuesday about what the body camera video of his July 27 arrest showed, the case was dismissed by prosecutors. An assistant district attorney filed a motion to dismiss, stating: “The prosecution is unable to prove the elements of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Man claims mayor gave officer ‘side eyes’ to arrest him
Namazi told FOX31 police body camera video showed Kulmann went out of her way to get Thornton Police to arrest him on false pretenses of violating the restraining order she had against him.
“I think that the video makes it so clear what happened,” said Namazi, who added: “The mayor walked over to me. The mayor made it clear she was coming right at me … giving side eyes to the officer to arrest me.”
Body camera video obtained by the Problem Solvers does indeed appear to show Kulmann glance toward a Thornton Police officer as she walks toward a political booth she would later tell FOX31 belonged to her and city council candidate Nicole Matkowsky.
In the footage, Namazi is dressed as his MAGA character, “Danny Kulmann,” talking to someone near the booth when he realizes Kulmann has entered within 15 feet of him.
In the body camera video, Namazi immediately steps backward and walks away as soon as he realizes the mayor has entered the 15-foot zone.
Kulmann appears to start a conversation with the man Namazi had just been speaking to while Thornton Police Sgt. Dan Wilson immediately approached Namazi to arrest him.
Body camera video captures the following exchange:
- Wilson: Come here, Danny.
- Namazi: I’m complying.
- Wilson: No.
- Namazi: Yes, sir.
- Wilson: You were within 7 feet of the mayor.
- Namazi: No.
- Wilson: Yeah, you were.
- Namazi: She walked to me, I was talking to someone.
- Wilson: You were standing there talking, you posted yourself in front of her post.
- Namazi: And I walked away.
- Wilson: And you were within 7 feet. You know the violation, Danny.
- Namazi: Look sir, I’m sure you have it on video, right?
- Wilson: You’re going to be under arrest.
- Namazi: OK, that’s OK.
When asked if Namazi thought Kulmann intentionally walked toward him to try and get him arrested, the 29-year-old responded, “I think she did. I think that’s super clear. She gestures over to an officer right before she comes over. She comes over when I’m looking the other way mid-conversation with a citizen and she stands right where I stood, not doing anything much at all, but standing around awkwardly. Not only that, but she did this before. She did this on July the Fourth.”
Namazi is referring to body camera video obtained by FOX31 from a city event on July 4, where Kulmann is seen asking a Thornton police officer, “Should I walk backward?” knowing that Namazi is standing at a distance behind her.
The officer appears to shake his head ‘no,’ but Kulmann walks backward anyway in the direction of Namazi, who is seen on body camera video immediately walking backward as well to comply with the 15-foot restraining order.
“I found it humorous. This is the type of behavior she’s done over and over. She’s pretending that I am a threat. Well, her actions make it clear she’s not worried. I’m a joke to her. I’m an annoyance, a pest. Something you might need bug spray for, not someone to be fearful of,” Namazi said.
Moments after that near encounter on July 4, Wilson is seen on body-worn camera asking another officer if he thinks Namazi had violated the temporary protection order a judge granted on June 22, before making the order permanent on July 18.
The other officer is heard telling Wilson that Namazi had maintained a distance of at least 15 feet.
“You think so?” Wilson asked, and the officer can be heard off-camera saying, “Yes.”
“The mayor has made it clear that she wants me arrested, that she does not want me to be able to have my voice,” said Namazi, an opponent of the mayor’s conservative political leanings.
Thornton mayor, police respond
When the Problem Solvers asked Kulmann for an interview this week, she said she wasn’t available but emailed a statement: “I trust Thornton’s police officers to enforce the judge’s order as they would with any other protection order where a woman feels harassed and physically threatened by another. The order was put in place to allow me to move about freely without fear of my space being invaded. This is especially important to remember when the person that is obligated to meet the terms of the protection order is in front of my tent at a city event.”
Namazi again questioned that.
“I think this is an incredibly obvious case where I am not a threat. I am not doing anything harmful other than making fun of the mayor and the political candidates who I do not agree with, who are underserving our community,” he said.
When the Problem Solvers asked Thornton Police if Wilson abused his discretion in arresting Namazi, the department provided the following response.
“The Thornton Police Department enjoys tremendous support from the community because of the professionalism of its members and restraint in the use of authority. Mr. Namazi’s summons was based on the officers’ perceptions and interactions with him, including those not captured on video, and in the context of a crowded public event. Protective orders granted by the courts in no way restrain the movements of petitioners who are granted legal documents protecting them against respondents. Video footage provides an opportunity for retrospective evaluation and narratives, but without context or a complete picture of the relevant factors.
What we do know:
- Mr. Namazi knew there was a protective order against him.
- Mr. Namazi chose to attend the event, as was his right, but knowing that the mayor would be present.
- Mr. Namazi chose to stand right next to the mayor’s canopy at the event, increasing the chances of an encounter within close proximity.
Officers responded out of an abundance of caution, given this set of facts and observations, many of which were not captured on video.”Thornton Police Department
Namazi was scheduled to make his first court appearance on the criminal summons on Thursday, Sept. 21. Even though he was notified by the Problem Solvers that his case had been dismissed, he said a court clerk advised him to show up anyway just to confirm his case has been dropped.