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Newly released video shows Denver cop knocking handcuffed man unconscious in LoDo bar basement

Posted at 10:16 PM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-10 14:16:08-04

DENVER — Just released video shows the moments an off-duty Denver police corporal loses his temper and knocks a handcuffed man unconscious. The incident occurred last April at Jackson’s, a downtown bar, where Cpl. Oestmann was off-duty working security.

"The guy clearly assaulted the cop, but that's for sure excessive force. The guy’s handcuffed and not a threat to a cop,” said civil rights attorney Richard Barnwell.

Denver police released body cam and security camera video of what investigators say happened April 14, 2018, after a fight broke out. Oestmann reportedly handcuffed Kevin Watson and kept him in a chair in the basement when things escalated.

The video shows, for several minutes, Watson berating and spitting at Oestmann’s feet. Watson then spits at Oestmann’s face, and that’s when Oestman reportedly punched him in the face and kneed him in the chest.

"You will not spit on me again! Do you understand me?" yells Oestmann.

Oestmann later admits he lost control in the video.

"Got a little violent there," said Oestmann.

MORE | Raw video of basement attack

As part of a plea deal, Oestman will not serve any jail time. Instead, he'll receive a deferred sentence and will take anger management classes, according to the DA's office.

Denver7 talked to people in the community about the incident after showing them the video.

"They should be held to a higher standard. The police officers off duty and on duty," said Shelley Padalecki.

Miguel Lopez with Cop Watch, a police watchdog group, told Denver7 this incident breeds more public distrust of law enforcement.

"We don’t want our children to be spitting on officers, but expect our children to not be brutalized by anyone," said Lopez.

Oestmann is on desk clerk duties, according to DPD, while the department investigates internally.

Denver7 asked people in the community how they felt about the professional disciplinary and legal action taken against Oestmann.

"I think it’s OK. That's enough," said a man on 16th Street Mall named Salim.

Others don’t feel comfortable with him back on duty.

"He’s going to run across criminals like that on a regular basis, and he proves that he can’t handle himself in the right way. Then he’s going to do it again because he’s always going to be tested," said Gregory Padalecki.

Our partners at the Denver Post report Oestmann's guilty plea and the entire case will be wiped clean if he follows court orders for a year. In a statement to Denver7, the district attorney’s office said Oestmann’s deferred judgement requires him to complete anger management and treatment as recommended by a third-party specializing in psychology and trauma for members of law enforcement.

According to the Denver Post, Oestmann has 10 commendations in his 14 years on the force. He also received 18 citizen and internal complaints that include several inappropriate force complaints and mistreatment of prisoners complaint that were eventually dismissed.