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Violent confrontation exposed in jail video

Posted at 10:29 PM, May 04, 2016

New video has surfaced showing a Denver jail deputy involved in a violent confrontation with an inmate.

On Christmas Day 2010, inmate Shawn Pack was unhappy about the food in Jail and expressed his displeasure. When Denver Deputy Thomas Ford approached Pack, the two became involved in an aggressive exchange.  Closed circuit cameras captured the outburst.

"He strikes him in the head and throws him to the ground, he strikes him on the ground and then he throws him against the wall," said Denver attorney  Qusair Mohamedbhai.

Yet the case was “exonerated,” as written in a letter to Pack’s father after an internal affairs review of the case.  An official said “no policies were violated,” accusing Pack of trying to "incite a riot in the facility."

Mohamedbhai differs.

"Deputy Ford rather than engaging in de-escalating techniques rapidly approaches Mr. Pack and begins to brutalize him," he said.

Even though the deputy was cleared of any wrongdoing, video of the incident is now part of a new lawsuit against the City and County of Denver and Deputy Ford. The lawsuit was filed by another inmate, Kyle Askin who was being hit by Deputy Ford inside the jail in 2014. Video cameras captured the incident. Ford was fired, but a board overturned his termination. The city is now appealing that the decision.          

"The reason why they're not terminating officer Ford is because they didn't discipline him in the past... is very concerning, that Denver uses their past failures as a reason not to discipline officers today,” said Mohamedbhai.

The Sheriff’s department would not comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, releasing this statement to Denver7:

“Thomas Ford’s employment with the DSD was terminated following a use of force incident involving Kyle Askin. The City is currently appealing the Career Service Board’s decision to overturn Ford’s termination. We cannot comment on a pending civil lawsuit.”

Mohamedbhai is concerned about the pace the Sheriff’s department is making reforms after Sheriff Patrick Firman was named to the job in October 2015.

"As I stated from the beginning of this journey, meaningful, lasting reform will take time. We have strong leadership and a dedicated team in place who are working hard to implement the recommendations and they have made great headway. But we certainly have more work to do,” said mayor Michael Hancock in a statement to Denver7.

Records obtained by Denver7 show that since 2004, Denver has paid more than $19 million for excessive force, mistaken identity and civil rights cases.

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