DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver district attorney decided Monday not to file criminal charges against Denver Sheriff Department Division Chief Elias Diggins, who was Denver’s acting sheriff in September when he released a wanted suspect.
Lynn Kimbrough, spokesperson for the Denver District Attorney’s Office said Monday, ”The IAB (Internal Affairs Bureau) investigation involving Sheriff Diggins was completed and presented to our office, and today it was formally declined as a criminal case. There is no indication of anything criminal regarding this incident.”
The Denver Police Department had been investigating Diggins after he set free a man who was in custody on an active misdemeanor assault warrant. On Sept. 11, Denver Sheriff deputies took into custody Eric Brandt, an Occupy Denver protester who had been sought on a misdemeanor assault warrant stemming from an incident Sept. 7. Brandt was accused of biting a security guard leading to the arrest warrant.
On Sept.11, sheriff deputies spotted Brandt inside Denver’s City and County Building attending an unrelated hearing and took him into custody in a bathroom. Brandt said the deputies showed him the warrant for his arrest and he gave himself up. But Diggins intervened and moments later deputies told Brandt he was being released.
“I was utterly stunned,” said Brandt.
He said Diggins told him he was being released because “it smells funny.”
Doug Jackson, Chief Deputy District Attorney for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, told CBS4 Diggins prevented his deputies from executing the warrant and had the discretion to do so.
“He is allowed to use discretion,” said Jackson.
He explained that Diggins felt that arresting the Occupy Denver protester could lead to a “volatile” situation and Diggins “wanted to keep a lid on things. He gets to make those calls,: said Jackson, who said Diggins was under no legal requirement to execute the warrant and have Brandt arrested.
“It is unusual,” said Jackson. ”But not criminal.”
Brandt said after exiting the building he attempted to flee but Denver police officers spotted him and immediately arrested him on the still active warrant and took him to jail.
Daelene Mix, Communications Director for Denver’s Manager of Safety, said additional interviews on the case will be conducted and administrators would evaluate if Diggins committed any Sheriff Department policy violations.