Denver deputy investigated for alleged inappropriate use of force

A Denver's sheriff's deputy is on paid leave for allegedly using inappropriate force while booking an inmate into jail.

Sheriff Gary Wilson said Wednesday that he has asked the Denver district attorney's office to investigate whether criminal charges should be filed against Deputy Thomas Ford.

Wilson says the incident happened Sunday but he didn't release details about the case. A second deputy, William Lewis, is also on leave for allegedly writing an inaccurate report about the incident.

The sheriff's office has been under scrutiny recently for a number of misconduct allegations. A federal judge last month asked the Department of Justice to investigate the office stemming from claims in a jail-abuse lawsuit.

Wilson is promising what he calls a “top to bottom” review of his department and the conduct of guards at the Denver County Jail. The sheriff told CPR News his deputies can make bad decisions, and says one factor in that is the stress of the job.

"This profession has a very high divorce rate, a fairly troubling suicide rate," Wilson says.

He says separate task forces are evaluating the sheriff’s department, looking at staff well-being, along with discipline, training and department polices.

It's not clear if the deputies have attorneys. A union official declined to comment.