3 Denver officers disciplined for using excessive force in separate incidents

Posted at 4:14 PM, Jan 08, 2020

DENVER — Three Denver officers faced discipline last month for using excessive force in three separate incidents last year, according to Denver Department of Public Safety documents.

Two officers — Corey Gambone and Alberto Ulloa — were given suspensions, while the third officer, Gregory Black, was fined, as first reported in the Denver Post.

The disciplinary action stems from the officers’ conduct during three separate incidents on June 8, August 4, and September 20 of last year.

In the June incident, officer Black responded to the 7-Eleven at 1000 East Colfax Avenue after a report that a vehicle in the store’s parking lot was registered to an owner with several felony arrest warrants.

Black, who was among other officers who responded, found upon arriving on scene a woman seat belted in the resting position in the front passenger seat of the vehicle in question. Black ordered the woman to exit the car, but when the woman failed to comply immediately, Black yanked the woman out of the car and placed her in handcuffs, according to the documents.

The woman was detained at the scene but was later released after it was learned the driver of the vehicle was not the registered owner and did not have any warrants.

Bodycam footage of the June 8 incident:

Bodycam: June 8, 2019 DPD incident

An internal investigation determined that officer Black violated his departmental rule when he pulled the woman out of the car without giving her reasonable opportunity to comply and exit on her own, the documents state. Black was fined the equivalent amount of 16 hours of salary.

The August incident involves officer Ulloa and his handling of an arrest of a drug suspect at an RTD bus stop on South Federal.

Ulloa and another officer approached a man sitting on the bench and ordered him to remove his hands from his pockets. The suspect failed to comply, and bodycam footage shows officer Ulloa striking the suspect’s head with his elbow and deliver two blows to his back to get the suspect to remove his hands from his pockets, the documents state.

An internal investigation found Ulloa violated department regulations by punching the suspect in the back and striking the suspect in the head when the suspect was only “displaying defensive resistance,” according to the disciplinary document.

Bodycam footage of the August 4 incident:

Bodycam: August 4, 2019 DPD incident

Ulloa was given a six-day suspension without pay. He began his suspension on Sunday and will return to work after Friday.

The third incident occurred in September and involves officer Gambone, who punched a suspect in the face during a traffic stop. Gambone said he struck the half-handcuffed male suspect because he was trying to gain control of the suspect, and he felt “the need to try and end the struggle as quickly as possible before the passenger was able to retrieve what I thought was a weapon,” Gombone told investigators. But the suspect did not have a weapon.

Gambone was found to have violated department rules by using excessive force. The documents state that Gambone’s actions were not reasonable nor necessary because the suspect’s resistance did not rise to the level of active aggression.

Department of Public Safety officials gave Gambone a 10-day suspension without pay. He is scheduled to begin serving his suspension on February 23.