DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver Sheriff deputy will be suspended for 10 days later this month after an investigation found he dragged an uncooperative inmate into a jail cell in December, against department policy.
“Sergeant (Joshua) Perez took little to no time seeking to de-escalate the situation with (the inmate) before going hands on; Sergeant Perez, as a sergeant, is expected to serve as an example of expected conduct to deputies; and by dragging (the inmate) along the top tier of the pod, in front of numerous inmates and deputies, humiliated (the inmate),” a disciplinary letter, issued to Perez, indicated.
According to the disciplinary notice, Perez, a deputy who has been working at the Denver Sheriff Department since 1994, told the team investigating the incident, “Well, to get someone back to their cell, we have to either drag them or carry them…I don’t know of another way to do that.”
He also said, “I still don’t like carrying because they could fall or – or they- or deputies could drop ’em. I – I think looking back on it,  hindsight is 20/20. I would have had a deputy grab him under the arm – two deputies, one under each arm, and – and pull him to his cell. In hindsight, that’s – that’s what I would have done.”
The disciplinary notice indicated Perez was also accused of failing to activate his body-worn camera and failed “to utilize deputies in resolving the incident.”
Denver police records do not identify the inmate beyond a pair of initials, DD. However, the records show Perez had experience with DD’s behavior and believed he was prone to “theatrics.”
The records suggest Perez could have cautiously approached DD before touching him, communicated verbally with DD, or ordered deputies to step away from the inmate to formulate a better plan for returning him to his cell.
“Sergeant Perez elected to personally lift DD up the stairs, which thankfully, did not result in injury, but jeopardized the safety of himself, DD, and nearby deputies,” the letter said.
The inmate went limp at the top of the stairs, and Perez dragged him back to his cell by his shirt.
“At this point, Sergeant Perez should have taken a moment to pause, and reassess the situation,” the discipline letter said.