Colorado State Patrol trooper assigned to Capitol, governor charged with felony menacing

Posted at 12:11 PM, Sep 10, 2021

DENVER – A Colorado State Patrol trooper who is part of the unit that protects the governor and the state Capitol was charged Friday with one count of felony menacing after he allegedly pointed his gun at a driver just south of the Capitol.

Jay Hemphill, 49, allegedly pulled the gun and pointed it at the woman while he was crossing E. 14th Ave. on the east side of N. Sherman Street on Aug. 25, according to an affidavit for his arrest.

The woman was heading north on Sherman St. and starting to turn right onto E. 14th Ave. when Hemphill pulled out his gun and pointed it at her while yelling as he crossed the street, according to the affidavit.

The incident was captured on video, and the woman reported it to Denver police. Hemphill also reported the incident to his supervisor.

The woman told Denver police investigators she was “freaking out” and that she was afraid she was going to get shot, according to the affidavit.

Police interviewed Hemphill, but the portion of the affidavit that details what he said was redacted by the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

CSP Master Trooper Gary Cutler said Hemphill was immediately placed on administrative leave once Denver police told the agency he was suspected of a crime.

Hemphill has been with CSP since July 1995 and joined the executive security unit in 1998, according to Cutler.

In 2008, Hemphill was awarded the Medal of Valor – the CSP’s highest honor – after he shot and killed an armed man who had entered the state Capitol armed with a gun. According to CSP, Hemphill calmly walked the man outside of the Capitol before the man showed him a gun in his pocket and Hemphill shot and killed him at the scene.

Hemphill made his first court appearance on Sept. 8.

“The Colorado State Patrol and its members are here to ensure the safety of all persons and to live our core values of honor, duty and respect. We take these standards seriously and recognize that the success of our mission depends upon maintaining the trust and the safety or the public we serve,” Cutler said in a statement. “We respect and defer to the Denver District Attorney’s Office and our judicial system regarding this charge.”

When asked about the charge at a news conference Friday morning, Gov. Jared Polis said he did not have further comment on the ongoing investigation.

Hemphill is the second CSP trooper to be charged with felony menacing after pointing their weapon at a person this year. In June, Trooper Wesley Dakan was fired from the agency following an internal investigation after he allegedly pointed his rifle toward a driver near 10th Ave. and Sheridan Blvd. on April 25.