DENVER — Attorneys for the City of Denver as well as Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations made their arguments in front of the Department of Excise and Licenses Wednesday regarding if and how the company should be penalized for the hiring of an unlicensed security guard involved in a deadly shooting.
Pinkerton had reached a tentative settlement with the city, but that was rejected by Excise and Licenses Executive Director Ashley Kilroy. Now, Bruce Plotkin, the career service hearing officer for the department, will review the arguments from both sides before issuing a written recommendation to Kilroy, who will make a final decision about what penalties -- if any -- Pinkerton should face.
The security company argued that its subcontractor Isborn Security Services was the one responsible for hiring Matthew Dolloff, who now faces second-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of Lee Keltner at dueling rallies in downtown Denver on Oct. 10.
Isborn Security Services agreed to surrender its license to operate in Denver last year. The agreement does not prevent Isborn from working in other municipalities in Colorado.
> The video above is from a previous 9NEWS story about the rejected settlement between Pinkerton and the Denver City Attorney.
Both Isborn and Pinkerton received a citation from Denver’s Dept. of Excise and Licenses on Nov. 4.
During Wednesday's hearing, the attorneys representing Pinkerton argued that Isborn Security Services was licensed to operate in Denver the day of the shooting, and that it was the subcontractor's fault for hiring an unlicensed security guard.
The Denver City Attorney's Office disagreed.
“I think it’s clear that because of the contractual relationship between Pinkerton and Isborn, there is a vicarious liability here in that Pinkerton did not ensure Isborn was using a licensed security guard and did not use a licensed security guard on Oct. 10," Katie Connor, with the Denver City Attorney's Office, said during the hearing.
Plotkin said he will make a written recommendation about potential penalties for Pinkerton within a week. From there, parties who dispute these potential penalties will have 10 days to object, and the other side will have five days for a rebuttal.
Kilroy will ultimately review all of these documents before making a decision, Plotkin said. There is no timeline for when that will happen, and her decision could be appealed through the court system.
Dolloff is slated to be arraigned for the shooting on Feb. 19. He has waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and is currently out on a $500,000 bond.
During a previous court appearance, an attorney representing Dolloff called his actions self-defense.
Pinkerton issued the following statement about the shooting:
Dolloff is accused of fatally shooting 49-year-old Keltner outside the Denver Art Museum. It happened near the end of two dueling demonstrations that included members of Black Lives Matter as well as people attending what they dubbed a “Patriot Muster.”
Dolloff was contracted through Pinkerton by 9NEWS. It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to contract private security to accompany staff at protests.
He was not licensed to provide security services as required in the City and County of Denver, according to the city’s Dept. of Excise and Licenses.
According to a probable cause (PC) statement released by the Denver Police Department (DPD), Keltner and another man were engaged in a “verbal dispute” where both men “yelled and postured” outside the art museum. Witnesses told investigators they believed "the men may engage in a physical altercation," the PC statement says.
Witnesses said Keltner was seen holding a bottle of OC spray before he hit Dolloff on the side of the head with an open hand, the PC statement says. Dolloff then took a gun out of his waistband and fired one shot at the same time Keltner sprayed the OC spray, according to the PC statement.
Keltner immediately collapsed, and Dolloff was taken into custody. Keltner later died at the hospital.
Keltner, reportedly a Navy veteran, worked as a hatter and was also a part of Colorado’s motorcycle community. The Biker Down Charity started a fundraiser for his family, describing him as a husband, father and friend to many.
9NEWS management released the following statement about the incident on Oct. 12:
“9NEWS continues to cooperate fully with law enforcement and is deeply saddened by this loss of life.
“For the past few months, it has been the practice of 9NEWS to contract private security, through an outside firm, to accompany our personnel covering protests. Pinkerton, the private security firm, is responsible for ensuring its guards or those it contracts with are appropriately licensed. 9NEWS does not contract directly with individual security personnel.”
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