Latest News – May 19
Community Clean Up Event Postponed Due to Snow
Organizers of the Leadville/Lake County Community Cleanup have postponed Saturday’s (May 20) event until June 10 due to a spring storm that left several inches of snow behind on Thursday, May 18. In addition, Governor John Hickenlooper’s planned visit to Leadville Today has also been canceled, no word on if and when his visit to America’s Highest City will be re-scheduled. Stay tuned to Leadville Today for more information about new dates and times for these happenings as it becomes available.
DA Brown: Sheriff Deputies Cleared of Charges
– Leadville Today Staff Report
District Attorney Bruce Brown has concluded “that no violation of law justifying any criminal charge exists against officers,” from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Instead, a variety of charges from “obstructing a peace officer,” to “resisting arrest” have been filed against the Lake County residents involved in the original case stemming from an incident on February 24, 2017.
A video of the incident had been posted on the Leadville Today (LT) Facebook Page on February 27, by a Lake County resident present at the scene. LT Publisher Kathy Bedell immediately alerted law enforcement agencies about the video, including the Leadville Police Department (LPD) and the Lake County Sheriff, in addition to DA Brown.
Police Chief Robert Glenny immediately clarified that none of his officers were involved in the incident. And Sheriff Rodney Fenske immediately responded on February 27, 2017:
Dispatch received two calls from inside this trailer requesting our assistant regarding a person in the trailer who was on probation and drinking and causing problems. We’ve been to this residence before for disturbances, drinking etc. I watched the video and don’t see a problem. Two of the people involved were cited. The video has been turned over to the D.A.’s office for use in prosecution. It is not uncommon to handcuff everyone involved until we determine who’s involved. If you need more information let me know. – Sheriff
Since its initial posting on LT and subsequently on other sites, the video has been completely removed from viewing. However, it did lead to Brown opening an investigation of the situation that same day.
“Leadville Today did the right thing by alerting law enforcement agencies about the video which was posted to our Facebook Page,” stated Publisher Kathy Bedell. “We chose not to take advantage of the situation by sharing the video on our larger media platforms with the intent to simply capture more readership. It was important to let the case run its course in a court of law rather than in the court of public opinion.” Ultimately, the DA’s decision to open an investigation was a decision of law, not journalism, concluded Bedell.
Following that investigation, the following is the official report release by the DA’s office yesterday, May 18, 2017:
On February 27, 2017, the Office of the District Attorney opened an investigation into alleged officer misconduct occurring in Lake County on February 24, 2017 at approximately 10:00 P.M at 150 Highway 300, Leadville.
The District Attorney’s office investigation has concluded after a review of written police reports, including witness interviews and videotape, for the purpose of determining whether the involved officers’ actions were within Colorado State law, emphasizing a ‘use of force’ analysis, that no violation of law justifying any criminal charge exists against officers.
Summarizing the occurrence based upon a review of public records, on February 24, 2017 Lake County Deputy’s responding to two emergency 911 calls at the subject residence, one caller stated that physical force was being used against an occupant, implicating domestic violence, and the other call indicated that an occupant was intoxicated and being irrational. Children were within the home.
Officer’s attempted to contact and speak with the dwelling occupants on their arrival. Occupants did not open the door after repeated requests. Officers entered the home by forcing open the door due to concerns of the occupant’s welfare, and were met by Maria Hernandez-Ponce trying pushing the officer out of the residence. Jose Calletano-Serrano also tried to make physical contact with the same Deputy. Deputy’s then handcuffed both Hernandez-Ponce and Calletano-Serrano. The latter used physical force to oppose his handcuffing as Hernandez-Ponce tried to use force towards Deputies.
Colorado law defines using or attempting to use physical force to prevent a law enforcement officer from entering onto premises to ascertain the nature of an emergency, as unlawful. Persons have duty to submit to the lawful exercise of police authority. If confronted by force or the apparent use of force in resistance to authority, peace officers have the right to use objectively reasonable amounts of force in self-defense and to complete their duties. A 2 person, including a peace officer, may lawfully use reasonable and appropriate physical force upon another person when, and to the extent he reasonably believes, it is necessary to defend a third person, such as a fellow officer.
Summonses were issued and pending for Jose Calletano-Serrano, on charges of violating CRS 18-9-111(1)(a), harassment [M3], CRS 18-8-104(1)(a), obstructing a peace officer [M2], CRS 18-8-103, resisting arrest [M2], and Maria Ponce-Hernandez on charges of violating CRS 18-8-104(1)(a), obstructing a peace officer [M2], CRS 18-8-103, resisting arrest [M2], both of whom are currently set for hearing in Lake County Court on June 29, 2017.
NOTE: ALL PERSONS CHARGED WITH CRIMES ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL THE CONTRARY IS PROVEN IN A COURT OF LAW.