Denver, CO – A Denver cop was charged with third-degree assault after he knocked a handcuffed man unconscious for spitting in his face (video below).
Denver Police Corporal Michael Oestmann was working off-duty at Jackson’s Hole Bar on 20th Street in downtown Denver on April 14 when the incident occurred, according to KCNC.
Cpl. Oestmann had detained Kevin Watson for his involvement in a bar fight.
The officer put Watson in handcuffs and sat him down in a chair in the back room at the bar, KCNC reported.
Bodycam video showed that the man sat and spewed insults and obscenities at Cpl. Oestmann for at least five minutes before the altercation happened.
The video began with Watson spitting on the floor.
“I don’t care if you spit on that floor,” the corporal told him in the video.
Watson began insulting Cpl. Oestmann, repeatedly calling him a b---h who didn’t make any money, and making remarks about the officer’s girlfriend.
“You can’t afford s--t. You’ll never make s--t, forever!” Watson sneered at the officer.
Cpl. Oestmann refrained from responding to the man for several minutes as Watson alternately spit on the floor and muttered insults at him.
Watson challenged the officer to remove his handcuffs for a fight, but the Cpl. Oestmann did not allow himself to be goaded.
“Are you scared? Are you scared?” Watson asked in the video.
“Do I look scared?” Cpl. Oestmann replied.
The video showed Watson continued picking at the officer, trying to get a reaction.
“You’re not worth my time,” Cpl. Oestmann told him.
The corporal maintained his cool for almost five minutes, until Watson leaned back and spit a wad of saliva that hit Cpl. Oestmann in the face.
Cpt. Oestmann closed the space between himself and the suspect in a split second.
He kneed Watson in the chest and punched him in the face, according to KCNC.
The exchange left Watson unconscious.
“You will not spit on me again!” the furious officer yelled. “Do you understand me?”
“We need a use-of force and a supervisor here,” Cpl. Oestmann radioed the dispatcher in the video.
"What was that about being a bitch? Who's unconscious now?" the corporal asked the limp man.
Then he told other officers nearby that the suspect had spit in his face.
Watson nodded in and out of consciousness after the assault, according to the Denver Post.
“I may have gotten a little violent there,” Cpl. Oestmann told Watson after the attack.
The Denver Post reported that other footage from the corporal’s bodycam showed him telling somebody else at the scene that he had “just kind of lost it” when Watson spit in his face.
Cpt. Oestmann was charged with third-degree assault in the incident, KCNC reported.
He reached a plea deal with the Denver District Attorney’s Office for deferred judgement that will result in no jail time.
According to KDVR, the corporal must complete a year of probation and anger management classes, and then his record will be cleared.
But the resolution of the criminal case doesn’t mean that Cpl. Oestmann is out of the woods yet professionally. He still has to face discipline for whatever department policies he may have violated.
“The Denver Police Department takes use-of-force incidents seriously and has a robust internal investigation process, which includes oversight by the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor, and an established disciplinary process when issues rise to that level,” the Denver PD said in a statement. “With the judicial proceedings concluded in Corporal Oestmann’s case, we will work to complete our internal investigation into the incident. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time, as the investigation is still ongoing.
KDVR reported that the corporal had been assigned to desk duty pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.
Watch the video of the incident below. The knock-out occurs around the 5 minute mark: