A city board has ordered the reinstatement of a Denver sheriff's deputy who was fired for punching an inmate at the downtown jail.

The Career Service Authority Board determined Thursday that Thomas Ford should have been suspended and should receive back pay for lost wages and benefits for all but 40 days since he was fired. Ford was fired in September 2014 after the punch was caught on jailhouse video.

His attorney has said he was reacting to a perceived threat. But Stephanie O'Malley, executive director of the Department of Safety, said "Ford clearly used inappropriate force," called the board’s decision "unwarranted," and criticized it for other similar actions as well.

“By frequently reversing sound disciplinary orders issued by my office, the Career Service Board is undermining our authority as an employer and preventing us from appropriately disciplining deputies who have violated department rules and regulations," she said. 

"Based on the facts and evidence, Deputy Ford clearly used inappropriate force during his interaction with the inmate, which is unacceptable to us and to the community. Our view remains that termination is warranted, and after conferring with the City Attorney’s Office, we have decided to appeal the Board’s decision to the Denver District Court," O'Malley said.

The city is planning to appeal the board's decision.