A Denver sheriff’s deputy was terminated after actions he took a year ago against an inmate were ruled as excessive force.
Darrin Turner worked as a sheriff’s deputy for 15 years before he was fired on January 4.
Daelene Mix, Denver sheriff’s spokeswoman, said in a statement that the termination of the officer was fitting given the circumstances of the case, as reported by the Washington Post.
Tuner’s termination letter stated that the deputy fueled a disagreement with an inmate. The report referred to the inmate as “DR,” and included a report of the disciplinary hearings about the case.
The Denver Department of Public Safety released footage of the January 28, 2016, incident on Monday. Turner is seen holding the inmate down while choking the man with his left hand. The deputy also hit the inmate with his right hand at some point in the video. Another officer came in to restrain the inmate.
Turner defended himself against the claim saying that the inmate provoked him by inciting him with racial slurs. The deputy claimed that the inmate even threatened him at one point.
“The reason I did it, Chief, the … inmate was saying that he was going to f— me up.”
The report brought up one specific action that Turner took stating that it indicated the deputy anticipated a physical altercation. The deputy defended himself saying that he believed the inmate was about to attack him, so for his safety, he removed his glasses. The report states that Turner had the time to deescalate the situation to prevent the altercation, and there were other actions he could have taken.
“If Deputy Turner had the time and presence of mind to remove his glasses and ensure their safety, he also had time and circumstances that permitted him to consider other options than entering an enclosed area of the facility with a provoked inmate for no legitimate reason.”
Turner plans to appeal the termination. He asked the panel reviewing his actions to speak to his colleagues that would attest to his good character, but Turner already had a multiple disciplinary reports. The deputy had three verbal reprimands and two written reprimands before the incident took place. He was suspended for 13 days in 2012 for “conduct prohibited by law” and “conduct prejudicial.”
The Denver Sheriff Department’s policy of use of force was rewritten last June. It requires deputies to use “verbal judo” when dealing with situations, and to use the least force they can to deescalate the situation.
[Feature Photo: Screenshot/Denver PD/FOX News]