Newly released video shows ex-Deputy Frank Kemp striking, choking inmate; Kemp was fired

DENVER - 7NEWS has obtained another in a disturbing series of surveillance videos showing Denver jail deputies roughing up inmates.

The video released Wednesday, documents a June 2, 2011 incident where then-Deputy Frank Kemp poked, choked and struck an inmate who was seated in a break room with 10 other low-security inmates who worked in the jail kitchen.

Denver's Career Service Board upheld the firing of Kemp Monday, saying he not only attacked the inmate, but later lied about it, according to disciplinary documents obtained by 7NEWS.

Kemp had appealed his termination, but the decision document shows the board sided with the Department of Safety's decision to fire the deputy.

The Kemp incident is another black eye for a Denver Sheriff's Department that's been rocked by a string of high-profile inmate abuse incidents. In the most glaring case, the city has tentatively approved a $3.25 million payout to former inmate Jamal Hunter to settle a federal lawsuit.

Revelations of jail brutality and corruption in the Hunter lawsuit has rocked the Denver law enforcement system and led Sheriff Gary Wilson to step down on July 21.

Denver safety director Stephanie O'Malley told 7NEWS Tuesday that she will bring in an outside organization to conduct an independent review of the department, which is grappling with more than 100 disciplinary cases.

Mayor Michael Hancock and O'Malley have vowed to overhaul the troubled department and restore public confidence in the institution.

In the Kemp incident, the silent video shows the deputy stride into the break room where the group of inmates wearing sanitary hair nets are seated in chairs, eating, reading the newspaper and chatting.

Kemp appeared upset for some reason and was asking for an inmate nicknamed "Shaggy," according to an appeal document.

Inmate Luis Hechavarrias, who was sitting against a far wall, asking Kemp, "Why you look so angry?" the document states.

"Do I know you?" Kemp asked. When the inmate said, "No," Kemp asked, "Then how would you know if I'm angry?"

Hechavarrias replied that the deputy had spilled orange juice on himself, according to the document.

The video shows Kemp walk up and push the inmate against a wall, poking him in the face and chest, putting his hands around the inmate's neck, and pushing his head against the wall. Then, after disengaging for a moment, the document says Kemp slapped the inmate on the left side of the head with the back of his hand.

Other inmates confirmed the assault. One inmate told investigators he thought Hechavarrias asked Kemp why he was mad in an effort to "break the ice." But the witness said Hechavarrias "shouldn't have made that comment because he didn't know [Kemp's] personality," the document states.  

Later, the CSA board decision order says Kemp gave a false account of the incident to a sergeant and lied in a written report.

"A year later, Kemp was confronted with the video by Internal Affairs," the order says. "He was asked again to explain the video. Again, Kemp's explanation lacked credibility."

Documents dated Jan. 2, 2014 from Kemp's previous appeal of his termination found, "(Kemp's) version of events was inconsistent with all the other evidence presented."

In the latest appeal, the board concluded, "We believe that reversing the Hearing Officer could send the unacceptable message that such misconduct will be condoned, or at least tolerated. We will not do that."

Kemp was fired for neglect of duty, carelessness, acts of dishonesty, failure to observe written departmental regulations, conduct prejudicial and violating other rules.

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