UPDATE @ 07/02/2015 3:49 PM — New details were released Wednesday about Mark Magness, the police officer who beat a handcuffed man while he was being detained in jail.
Dave Romero, the officer assisting Magness at the time, told the district attorney’s office that “Magness began to lose control when he threw the restraint chair across the booking area.”
Romero confirmed reports that Magness had a history of aggressive treatment of prisoners and suspects, saying Magness was known to have anger issues, and that there were even several incidents where Magness pushed him away from said “your time is up dealing with this suspect, someone else is going to take over.”
Another incident Romero mentioned was a time when Magness believed a suspect tried to punch him. “You didn’t mean to swing at me? Cool!” Magness said told the suspect sarcastically. “I didn’t mean to bust your face up, either.”
Despite the Magness’s infamous behavior, and the fact that he had been disciplined for excessive force in 2009, the Federal Heights Police Department chose to keep Magness employed, only firing him once forced to after an internal affairs investigation.
FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. – A Federal Heights police officer with a history of brutality can be seen on body camera footage beating a handcuffed man in a jail cell during a December incident.
A video obtained by local ABC affiliate 7NEWS shows Officer Mark Magness pulling a handcuffed man from a patrol car and throwing him into a doorway, smashing his face. The following is an account of the footage by 7NEWS:
“Stand up!” Officer Magness yells at the man who’s heard apologizing.
The man’s face is dripping with blood as they remove his cuffs. Officer Magness orders the man to “get over here” to which he replies “F-you,” before they shove him into his cell.
Things escalate when the man swings at Officer Magness’s face with an open hand.
That’s when Magness jumps on the man, punching him several times. The attack lasts nearly 10 seconds as the officers yell at the man to “stop resisting, stop resisting!” before pinning him to the ground and handcuffing him. Magness then grabs a prisoner restraint chair, flings it across the room at which point the other officer is seen pointing to his chest, warning him the event is being recorded.
“F that! F that!” Magness responds.
‘I’m sorry, sir, I won’t do nothing else” the man says as they throw him into the chair, blood now dripping from his chin.
The man remains handcuffed as Officer Magness grabs him and jerks him into an upright position.
“Sit back! Sit back!” Officer Magness yells pushing his head backward into the chair.
The man is again told to stop resisting, although video shows him sitting still while Officer Magness holds his head against the chair by his temples.
“We’re gonna need medical,” the second officer says pointing to his chin.
“I don’t care, strap him to the chair,” Magness replies at which point the second officer again points to his body cam.
At one point the man yells “ow!” as Magness pokes him in the temple, to which Magness replies, “no this is ow,” as he jams his finger underneath the man’s ear.
Video of the incident is available below:
According to NEWS7, court records show Magness pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree assault for the attack on June 17 but it’s not his first disciplinary action.
In 2009, Magness, then just a one year veteran of Federal Heights Police, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in Adams County and paid a $517 fine after Dennis Discua and several witnesses said he threw him to the ground, breaking his arm.
“When I saw [this video] I remembered when he just grabbed me and I didn’t resist or nothing and he just pushed me and throw me all the way down,” Discua said.
Discua said Magness refused to get him medical help and left the scene. When Discua called 911, the dipatcher sent the nearest officer, Magness, who returned and pretended to not know what happened.
“The police are supposed to help people, not hurt people,” Discua said.