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Three Denver police officers, 4 deputies disciplined for careless or excessive use of force

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Posted at 1:16 PM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 15:16:47-04

A Denver police officer who fired his gun at homeowners who had reported their security alarm was ringing for no reason will lose pay, along with two other Denver police officers and four sheriff’s deputies were suspended for using excessive force on inmates and arrestees.

Disciplinary letters for the officers and deputies provided by the Denver Department of Public Safety show that one deputy and one officer were suspected for grabbing or placing pressure on someone’s neck. All the letters were issued in May.

Officer Joseph Merino on June 13, 2019, fired at homeowners in their own home while responding to a burglary alarm even though the homeowners told the 911 call taker they were home and just wanted an officer to drive by, his disciplinary letter shows. A dispatcher, however, told Merino that the homeowners were not present at the house and he responded to the address.

The homeowners told police that they saw a figure with a flashlight near their home so they banged the glass to try to scare that person away.

“We heard a loud bang and my husband thought someone was still trying to get in,” one of the homeowners said in a statement, according to the disciplinary letter. “We realized it was an officer after I looked outside and saw the cop car outside.”

Read the full story in The Denver Post.