Denver Police Officers Suspension Shooting Update

Three Denver Police Department officers received significant suspensions for spoiling a single case involving a drunken man and their failure to find a bullet hole that would have proven he had fired a gun, as his wife feared. terrified girlfriend – even though it could be seen on video by not one, not two, but three body-worn cameras. Due to what investigators called a “series of errors,” the Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the suspect, citing “no likelihood of conviction.”

Constables Jessica Thomas and Jonathan Hayes received ten-day suspensions, while Corporal Brendan Simmons, their supervisor, received a fourteen-day suspension. The Denver Department of Public Safety has not released photos of the three in conjunction with the disciplinary letters outlining the action taken against them. But in January 2020, the DPD shared a photo of Thomas for a more positive story: Along with another officer, Haley Peyton, she safely delivered a woman’s baby at a community shelter.

The story of the three letters begins in the early morning hours of February 21, 2021, when Hayes responded to a domestic violence call at a residence in the 2700 block of Walnut Street; Simmons and Thomas arrived soon after. The victim, identified by the initials MA, told Hayes that her boyfriend, called AB, fired a gun inside their apartment – a claim reinforced by the computer-assisted dispatch entry , who said :

BOYF VS RP – SHOOT A GUN – NO INJS

BOTH PHYSICAL AND VERBAL

BOYF SHOT GUN INSIDE APT – HIT WALL – 2X WEAPONS IN APT – PISTOL AND AUTOMATIC – OWN OTHER WEAPONS AT HOME – UNK WHAT TYPE

SUSP TEXTED RP AND SAID HE WILL KILL HIMSELF

HAS TWO RIFLES AND THEY ARE ALWAYS LOADED

During his first interview with Hayes, conducted outside the building more than half an hour after his initial 911 call, MA said, “I went to remove my makeup in his bathroom, and he …was in the living room at the time. , and from what I remember a gun was fired. It scared me. So at that time I tried to talk to him, and at that point he tried to blame me and said it was me who fired the gun. She didn’t think he was aiming at her, but was worried about her security, especially since he had sent her the words “kill me” after she left.

After further questioning from Hayes, however, MA became less definitive about what happened, saying she “wasn’t sure it was a gunshot, but it was definitely a gunshot.” loud noise”.

By the time officers entered the building, with the help of the Denver Fire Department, more than an hour and twenty minutes had passed since MA had called the cops – and because they are initially in the wrong apartment, their first contact with AB has been further delayed. When they finally contacted AB, Hayes allegedly discovered “a box of ammo in [his] pocket”, as well as “various bullets” which had been “scattered around the apartment”. However, AB denied shooting a gun.

Meanwhile, Simmons performed what is called “a protective sweep of the apartment.” In the video from his body worn camera, he is “seen entering the bedroom, looking in the closet and entering the bathroom. A small hole is visible in the tile of the shower closest to the toilet”. The video also shows Hayes inspecting various parts of the apartment, and when he is in the bathroom, “a bullet hole is visible in the shower tiling” – and the hole can be seen in footage captured by the camera carried by Thomas as well. .

Officers managed to locate a rifle, a handgun and several loaded magazines. Nonetheless, Hayes ultimately determined that AB “was neither suicidal nor murderous”, but was “extremely intoxicated”. Although they determined that “both parties were involved in verbal-only marital trouble”, officers decided that AB should be “taken to rehab for his own safety”.

The next day, MA returned to the apartment with two officers on “civil alert” to retrieve her belongings. Upon entering the bathroom to retrieve her razor, she “saw a hole in the tiled floor, with fragments of powder in it. [the] tub.” She informed Hayes of the discovery by calling the number on a business card he gave her and followed up with an email in which she wrote, “I think it’s there [AB] shot a. What worries me is that I was in the bathroom at the time, and I think he was trying to aim at me.”

The response to this development was not immediate. A search warrant for the apartment was not drawn up until March 2, and while the bullet hole was visible to officers at the scene, the prosecutor’s office dropped the case because “the suspect had the opportunity to manipulate the hole in the bathroom tile “during the days that followed”, and his trip to rehab “would raise reasonable doubt in the mind of a juror”.

In a later interview, Hayes offered a variety of explanations for how he handled things. “The apartment was… a little messy,” he said, and when he looked around he “didn’t see any obvious damage, didn’t see any bullet holes. … I guess a key thing is that she wouldn’t say for sure that a gun was fired I’ve been in rooms where guns are fired I’ve had training in close quarters where a gun was fired. Guns are very loud. So when a gun is fired, like, you know a gun was fired. So that’s huge all of sequel that she wouldn’t say for sure that he fired a gun or that a gun was fired by him. Like, guns are loud.

Click to read the disciplinary letters from Constable Jonathan Hayes, Constable Jessica Thomas and Corporal Brendan Simmons.

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