DENVER — Roughly a month after his involvement in a bar fight in Greenwood Village, the Arapahoe County Sheriff vowed that this type of incident would not happen again, but also that he felt justified in taking action.
In his first public comments since the Aug. 21 melee at Pindustry, a bowling alley and bar, Sheriff Tyler Brown told Denver7 Investigates in an exclusive interview that he wishes the evening had taken a different turn.
“I wish it had gone in a completely different direction,” Brown said.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann investigated the incident and is not filing charges against Brown or any of the other men involved in the fight, citing that none of the parties wanted to press charges and the likelihood of conviction was low. However, McCann said that Brown’s behavior was “irresponsible and unprofessional for an elected sheriff.”
Brown was on a date with his wife that evening and tensions rose when two men asked for Brown’s wife’s phone number multiple times, according to a 128-page police report from Greenwood Village Police.
“I want people to know that this won’t happen again,” Brown said. “For me, as a husband, I won’t put myself or my wife or my friends in that position. But, ultimately, I was trying to diffuse a situation that was escalating quickly and that I have the training to de-escalate.”
Surveillance video from Pindustry shows that Brown grabs a man by the arm and pushes him toward the exit. Then, he grabs him by the neck.
Then, a second man comes up from behind and punches Brown twice in the back of the head. Brown is then seen putting up his hands and walking away. He says he should have walked away sooner.
“You know, if I could go back and replay it 1,000 times, you know, knowing where we are at today, yes, just walk away,” he said.
Brown told Denver7 Investigates that he grabbed the man by the arm because that individual was being the most verbally aggressive of the group. Brown also pointed out that his hand did not go around the man’s neck until later.
During a phone call with the Greenwood Village police chief, Brown denied grabbing the man by the throat, only to be told that the police chief could see this on the video.
“His initial comments were that I walked up and I grabbed this man by the neck,” Brown said of the chief. “And, if you see the video, I didn’t walk up and grab him by the neck. I walked up and grabbed him by the wrist. The video shows it happens fairly quickly, and then I remove my hand almost as quick, you know, within two to three seconds.”
Brown explained in greater detail what happened when he first grabbed the man by the arm.
“So, when I had him in a twist lock, my hand was on his back trying to drive him in the direction that he was moving,” he said. “When he flexed and turned towards me, my hand stayed up in that general area. And when I pushed him over the bay, my momentum took me in that direction. My intent was not to put my hand on his neck or restrict his breathing in any way.”
Brown said he accepts any criticism of him and that he’ll be harder on himself than anyone else, but he believes the altercation came to him, not the other way around.
“During the investigation and during some of the reporting, I still feel that I was justified. That doesn’t mean that what I did, I don’t want to Monday morning quarterback and try to find different ways to do that, but I’m still justified in my actions.”
Brown also feels that this incident should not define his time as sheriff in Arapahoe County.
“I don’t think one specific incident should encapsulate somebody completely,” he said. “I think if you look at the things that we’ve accomplished here at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office in the time that I’ve been able to be the sheriff, [it’s] just truly a blessing to be able to be part of this agency.”
Denver7 Investigates requested interviews with the man Brown pushed across the room and the man who punched him. Both declined through attorney Birk Baumgartner, who provided a statement:
“Neither of my clients wish to pursue legal action against Sheriff Brown,” the statement read. “They understand that everybody makes mistakes and they understand this has been difficult for everyone involved. They would like to move on with their lives, and it is time for everyone to put this incident behind them.”