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Deputy under investigation after using force on jail inmate

Video from the incident in December appears to show the deputy using a chokehold on an inmate.

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo — A deputy in Adams County is under investigation after using force against an inmate in December. 

Body camera video appears to show the deputy using a chokehold, which is illegal in Colorado.

In the video, a 34-year-old inmate named Gabriel Sisneros is seen talking to a deputy. In the video, there's no sound leading up to the restraint. 

That's why Ed Obayashi, a use of force expert, is paying attention to what the deputy says right after putting his arm around the neck of Sisneros.

"It is pretty evident the guard's reaction, his use of his force, was a response to some sort of comment that pushed the officer's buttons," said Obayashi, who trains police in California. 

> Content Warning: This video contains strong language and violence. It may be difficult for some people to watch.

Obayashi is troubled by this type of force in jail, where, he said, inmates are presumed not to be armed. 

"The amount of force that was applied against the neck area is enough to lift this inmate off his feet, and that could lead to serious bodily injury," Obayashi said.

On Thursday, the Adams County Sheriff's Office sent out a press release about the incident, which happened Dec. 13. The department said the incident is being investigated by the Westminster Police Department. 

Any determination of criminal action or prosecution will be made by the Westminster Police Department and the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office. 

"The Adams County Sheriff’s Office takes use of force incidents seriously and have fully cooperated with the Westminster Police Department as they conduct their criminal investigation," the press release says.

The sheriff's office said they're not sharing the name of the deputy involved per their standard procedure. The deputy is on restricted duty, which means he doesn't have contact with inmates. 

The department said they will conduct their own internal investigation when the criminal investigation finishes to determine if the deputy violated policy.



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