DENVER (KDVR) – A Denver Sheriff Department deputy has been fired after he slammed a courthouse visitor head-first into the ground as the man was walking away from the deputy last November.
“The amount of force that was utilized in that incident was unnecessary and excessive,” said Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins, who listened in on some of the disciplinary hearings. Diggins took office as sheriff after the deputy, James Jeffery, was fired July 15, 2020.
Courthouse surveillance video showed the deputy approaching another man from behind as the man was leaving the courthouse. Jeffery put his arm around the man’s neck, lifted him off the ground and slammed him onto the floor.
The man told investigators he suffered a concussion after the incident.
“The gravity of the misconduct, including the injuries sustained by LH (the man), the existence of a legal and financial risk to the Department and the City, Deputy Jeffery’s lack of candor in describing the incident and his unwillingness to accept responsibility all justify a penalty greater than the presumptive. There being no greater penalty than dismissal, the presumptive penalty of dismissal is imposed,” Jeffery’s disciplinary notice said.
Jeffery is appealing his termination. Neither he nor the attorney who represented him during the disciplinary hearings responded to FOX31’s request for an interview. According to the disciplinary records, Jeffery served as a deputy for more than a decade.
The man who suffered injuries during the incident was accused of bringing medical marijuana containers into the courthouse without a medical marijuana card.
According to witnesses, that man had challenged Jeffery to a fight outside the building.
“I’m gonna kick your ass,” he was accused of saying.
Records show Jeffery said he “did not intend to hurt (the man),” and that he thought the man was going to assault him based on the man’s actions and statements.
Diggins said there is no room in the department for the type of conduct he saw on the video.
“We lead with our humanity and we treat people in a way that respects their dignity,” he said. “That’s the way we have operated within the Denver Sheriff’s Department, and we will continue to do so under my leadership as well.”
The district attorney declined to file charges against Jeffery late last year.