Video shows handcuffed man spit in Denver LEO’s face, LEO knocks him out

Elise Schmelzer The Denver Post

DENVER — Body cam footage released Friday shows a Denver police corporal knock out a handcuffed man he detained at a Lower Downtown bar last year while working off-duty as a security guard.

Cpl. Michael Oestmann reached a plea deal last week with the Denver District Attorney’s Office that will allow him to wipe his guilty plea to a misdemeanor menacing charge from his record in a year if he follows court orders. He will serve no jail time.

Prosecutors originally charged Oestmann with misdemeanor assault in connection with the April 14 incident at Jackson’s Hole Bar on 20th Street. Oestmann detained a man, identified in court papers as Kevin Watson, for participating in a bar fight. He handcuffed Watson and sat him in a chair in the basement.

Watson taunted Oestmann for minutes while sitting in the chair, spitting at his feet. After one glob of spit landed on Oestmann’s face, the corporal launched himself toward Watson, punched him in the face and slammed his knee into his chest.

“You will not spit on me again! Do you understand me?” Oestmann yelled at Watson, who appeared to lose consciousness during the assault.

“What’s that about being a b***h?” Oestmann said. “Who’s unconscious now?”

“I may have gotten a little violent there,” Oestmann told Watson after the attack, a separate video shows. Oestmann told somebody else on the scene that he “just kind of lost it” when Watson spit in his face, footage from his body worn camera shows.

Watson, clearly intoxicated, nodded in and out of consciousness after the assault. His face was bloodied in the assault. At one point, Watson starts crying.

“Why are you crying now?” Oestmann asked.

“I didn’t do anything,” Watson said.

Oestmann remains at the Denver Police Department, where he is assigned to a clerk position, a police spokesman said Tuesday. An internal investigation into Oestmann’s actions continues.

Denver police officers working off-duty as law enforcement are still bound by the department’s policies.


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