Elias Diggins, man picked as interim head of Denver Sheriff's Office, has criminal record

Pled guilty to making false report in 1996

DENVER - 7NEWS has confirmed that Division Chief Elias Diggins, the man Denver Mayor Michael Hancock picked as the interim head of the Denver Sheriff's Department, has a criminal record.

Diggins told 7NEWS that it was a mistake he made 18 years ago, when he was just 23 years old, when he got into car accident.

He said he was issued a ticket after a 1996 crash, but delayed responding to the citation and was then called to court. 

He told 7NEWS when he was in court he lied to the judge about having insurance, because he did not. He was then charged with attempt to influence a public official, a felony. He pleaded guilty to a making a false report, which is a misdemeanor. 

READ the arrest record: http://ch7ne.ws/1nemfhU

"I've learned a lot from it, and I regret it," Diggins told 7NEWS anchor Eric Kahnert over the phone.  

A spokesperson for the city's public safety department says it's not clear if Hancock knew of the misdemeanor conviction before Monday's announcement.

Meanwhile, community leaders are applauding Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson's decision to step-down, after a federal judge urged the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate a pattern of misconduct at the sheriff's department and Denver Police Department stemming from a former inmate's lawsuit alleging brutality and corruption by deputies.

"All of us have been incensed by what we've seen, by what we've read, by what we're dealing with, by what we're investigating. As leaders of this city we take an oath to serve and protect just like these sheriff's do... And that's not OK with us," said Hancock.

Hancock said he's ordered a top to bottom review of the department.

Although Wilson is stepping down as sheriff, he will remain in the department as a division chief. That revelation is puzzling for one community activist.

"If that's going on and we just move people around, that's like putting a band aid on a hemorrhage, I hope what we saw today is more than just window dressing," said the Rev. Patrick Demmer, of Concerned Clergy of Colorado.

Demmer and others will be meeting Tuesday to come up with a list of questions they want the city to answer, including the exact steps that will be taken to clean up the sheriff's department.

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