2 deputies, watch commander disciplined for role in inmate death

The family does not feel punishment for those on duty is sufficient.

KUSA - Denver Department of Safety announced Wednesday two deputies and a watch commander involved in the in-custody death of a homeless Denver jail inmate will be disciplined for violating department policies and procedures.

Michael Marshall choked on his own vomit during the Nov. 11, 2015 incident.

In January 2016, the district attorney ruled the six deputies involved would not be prosecuted, saying they were not trying to hurt the 50-year-old, 112-pound man, whom he said became aggressive.

On Wednesday, the Denver Department of Public Safety announced two deputies and a watch commander were issued suspensions ranging from 10 to 16 days, which they will be allowed to appeal.

Deputy Bret Garegnani, a nine-year veteran of the Denver Sheriff Department, was suspended for 16 days. Deputy Carlos Hernandez, a nine-year veteran of the department and Cpt. James Johnson, a 24-year veteran of the department, were issued 10-day suspensions.

After a thorough review by multiple agencies, the three were disciplined for violating the department’s policies and procedures.

“After conducting a full review of the incident and considering the facts and circumstances of the case, it has been determined that three of the employees associated with the incident violated rules and regulations. As such, discipline is appropriate and has been imposed,” Stephanie O’Malley, Executive Director of Safety, said in a release.
On Wednesday afternoon, attorneys for the family of Michael Marshall held a press conference outside the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center.

“Three people will be disciplined and the discipline is laughably light,” Darold Killmer said, attorney for the Marshall family. “It would laughable if it weren’t so serious.”

Michael Marshall’s niece, Natalia Marshall, spoke in tearful disbelief about the punishment handed down to the deputies.
“Ten to 16 days? Ten to 16 days’ suspension? And they tortured - they tortured my uncle,” Marshall said, tears streaming down her face.

Supporters of the Marshall family also took to the mic and called on the city to take further action against the deputies.

“We want this family to see justice and justice is not two weeks’ vacation so you can think about what you did.” Rev. Timothy Tyler said.
The deputies may appeal their suspensions to the Career Service Hearing Office within 15 calendar days.

RELATED: Family plans to sue Denver over death of homeless inmate

Click here to view the detailed orders of discipline issued to the deputies. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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