Unaware: Sheriffs ‘unknowingly’ assigned rogue deputy to train colleagues
DENVER — After suspending a deputy for slamming an inmate into a window and misleading investigators about the attack, the Denver Sheriff’s Department assigned him to train other officers on how to handle volatile situations and how to write official reports about use-of-force incidents.
Deputy Brady Lovingier — son of longtime sheriff’s department chief Bill Lovingier — was caught on tape in 2012 attacking a fully restrained inmate in front of a judge in her courtroom, without provocation.
It took more than a year after the judge filed an excessive-force complaint for the city to suspend Lovingier for 30 days. He is appealing that suspension to Denver’s Career Service Authority in a hearing scheduled Thursday morning.
Also Thursday morning, the sheriff’s department will inform Lovingier that he is being yanked from his assignment training fellow deputies about use of force in potentially deadly situations and about how to report those scenarios honestly and accurately to their superiors.
It took several inquiries by The Colorado Independent – and several official explanations about whether and why Lovingier was trusted to train colleagues on some of the same protocols he has violated – before Sheriff Gary Wilson decided late Wednesday that Lovingier’s assignment is inappropriate.
“He’s no longer training those classes. The Sheriff has decided that he’s not the right person to teach it,” said sheriff’s department spokesman Frank Gale. “The issue is that he was disciplined for a use of force case. That in the Sheriff’s mind is not consistent with a person to be teaching those types of classes.”
When suspending Lovingier in September, department officials found “no legitimate reason” for his attack on inmate Anthony Waller. They deemed Lovingier’s statements to investigators to be “unreasonable” and not factual.
Those officials apparently didn’t pass word of his misconduct to the department’s training academy, which lists Lovingier among the “certified personnel” responsible for instructing the city’s 740 deputies on matters such as using force and writing truthful reports.
“The people who run training would not have routinely known” about Lovingier’s record, Gale said. “We don’t share disciplinary matters. We don’t broadcast that as a department.”
Asked Wednesday about Lovingier’s training assignments, Gale at first gave incomplete information about the number of courses and topics the deputy has been teaching as recently as Saturday — two days after The Independent posted a videotape of Lovingier’s attack on Waller.
Later Wednesday, The Independent asked about an in-service training schedule showing that Lovingier has been teaching at least six classes. Among them are “Force on Force Scenarios,” a course on how to react to an “active shooter” in a courtroom or other public place. Other courses focus on “report writing,” “legal updates,” hazard plans, rape prevention and “recognizing, assisting and reporting behaviors” – training deputies to spot stress, volatility and misconduct among their colleagues.
In a second interview Wednesday, Gale said Lovingier’s suspension for excessive force had no bearing on his qualifications to train deputies about use of force. He also said there was nothing questionable about deputies being taught how to write reports by a man who has been found to have misrepresented the facts about his own misconduct in a long string of statements to investigators.
Twists in Lovingier’s accounts include one assertion that he “eased (Waller) to the floor.” In another statement, he claimed “it appeared Mr. Waller tripped up on his leg irons when I turned him to regain control and leave the courtroom.”
The September 11, 2012 videotape shows Anthony Waller – who was taken into custody on suspicion of assaulting a woman in a motel — was shackled in handcuffs, leg irons, a belly chain and black box as he was escorted into a courtroom to be advised of his rights. Waller stood quiet at the podium while Denver County Judge Doris Burd spoke for about five minutes. When she finished, he politely asked why he was being held without having been arrested.
Just as the Judge Burd started answering Waller’s question, Lovingier suddenly grabbed Waller from behind by the belly chain. Waller turned his head to look at the deputy, who then yanked Waller violently by the chain, spun him around and slammed him into a large glass window. Waller’s head was injured. He collapsed onto the ground and was dragged by deputies out of the courtroom.
By Wednesday evening, the official take on Lovingier’s teaching assignments had tipped from from thumbs-up to thumbs-down. Lovingier is being stripped of all training except for a course on CPR/First Aid.
Gale said Sheriff Wilson had been “unaware” of the weightier assignments until The Independent asked about them.
“When we made him aware of this, he said we’re not going to do that,” he said. “I think our response demonstrates that when we found out about it, we stopped it.”
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