DENVER – Two Denver police officers and a Denver sheriff's deputy have been suspended in recent weeks for separate incidents, including sending nude pictures, arresting the wrong person and napping on the job, according to disciplinary letters released this week.
Officer Michael May was suspended 16 days in November for sending his ex-girlfriend unwanted nude pictures from his work cell phone, according to his disciplinary letter on Nov. 4. May, in an interview with department investigators, admitted "it was a serious lapse in judgment" and "completely inappropriate" to take and send the pictures with his work phone. May will begin serving his suspension on Dec. 29, the letter said.
Officer Don Whyde was suspended 10 days without pay for arresting a female patient at a hospital, mistakenly believing she was the suspect in a burglary, according to his disciplinary letter on Nov. 7. In August, Whyde had responded to the burglary, in which the suspect was detained by a security guard and taken to Saint Joseph Hospital.
But another responding officer mistakenly thought the suspect was taken to Denver Health Medical Center and asked Whyde to locate the suspect there. Whyde arrived asked if any white females had been taken to the hospital from the address where the burglary happened. The staff confirmed that a woman from that location was at the hospital, so Whyde found the patient and told her she was suspected in the burglary.
She said she didn't remember anything like that happening, but that it could have happened. The woman was arrested and taken to jail, where she stayed for more than a day before being released on a personal recognizance bond.
The mistake was later reported by a detective, who noticed from surveillance video that the suspect in the burglary had blond hair, while the woman who was arrested at the hospital had dark hair. When asked if he had positively identified the woman before arresting her, Whyde said he assumed the other officer had already done that at the scene. Whyde will begin serving his suspension on Jan. 12.
Deputy Onesmio Garcia was suspended four days using a supply closet at the downtown jail to take naps while on duty, according to his disciplinary letter on Oct. 31. Garcia spent a total of more than 12 hours in the closet in March and April, according to surveillance videos in the jail. One video showed Garcia dragging an inmate's mattress into the closet.
The disciplinary letter logged how many times Garcia entered the closet and how long he spent in the closet each day. On several days, he spent more than a hour in the closet.
Garcia told investigators that personal issues were causing him to lose sleep between his shifts that he went into the closet because "I just needed to rest my eyes, kind of clear my mind," the letter said.
Garcia served his suspension in November.