A Denver board ordered the Denver Sheriff's Office to give deputy Thomas Ford his job back Thursday, after he was fired last year for punching an inmate in the face.
The city's Career Service Board order reduces his penalty to a 40-day suspension, and ensures he'll get back pay for the entire 14 months he was off the job, minus the 40-day penalty.
Executive director of Public Safety Stephanie O'Malley issued this statement Thursday afternoon after learning of Ford's reinstatement:
“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. 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.”
The altercation happened back in July of 2014 at the Downtown Detention Center while Ford was booking inmate Kevin Askins.
When the city Department of Safety fired Ford, the move was seen as a step toward reform for the troubled department, but sources told Denver7 at the beginning of this month that Ford would be reinstated following a lengthy appeals process.
"Deputy Ford absolutely should be fired for what he did to Mr. Askins," said his attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai. "Taxpayers should be outraged that deputy Ford has had a paid vacation for nearly 14 months and will be receiving a large check because he punched an inmate in the face."
Deputy Ford testified that the inmate was drunk and using "racially offensive language," prior to the incident. He also claimed the inmate was unrestrained and posed a danger.
"Mr. Askins was posing absolutely no threat to deputy Ford when he was punched in the face," said Mohamedbhai.
Last month, the Career Service Board also overturned the firing of two other deputies, including deputy William Lewis who was working with Ford at the time and failed to report the punch.