A Denver policeman has been fired recently after video surfaced of him fighting and choking a detained woman in jail.
Officer James Medina, a 15-year member of the Denver Police Department, faced disciplinary action after holding down the screaming and belligerent woman and choking her with his knee.
He was fired on Mar. 4 for "using excessive force and failing to report the incident to superiors," according to the Denver Post.
According to the disciplinary report, Medina put the woman at "great and unnecessary risk of serious bodily injury or death."
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Medina asserts that the woman never lost consciousness during the altercation. He has hired a legal counsel in the hopes of appealing his termination.
The situation first started on July 10, 2014, when Medina was called to a fast-food restaurant in Denver to check on a "sick and intoxicated" man.
Denver Cares -- an addiction rehabilitation center based in the city – took the man into their custody. It was then that Seryina Trujillo and her boyfriend interfered with the situation.
Trujillo was arrested but remained belligerent the entire time, even spitting in the face of another police officer on the scene. While being placed into the squad car, Trujillo kicked Medina in the face, which resulted in him punching her in the face, according to the report.
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In the holding cell, Trujillo was asked to hand over her shoes and belt -- a standard arrest procedure to prevent suicide -- but refused.
An altercation ensued with Medina screaming that the woman "not bite" him, eventually leading to the officer pinning Trujillo down and removing her shoes and belt.
In the video, it would appear that the officer pinned the woman's neck with his knee, at which point she seems to go limp.
According to the report, Medina should have asked a female officer to help him during the process. He also should have gotten medical attention for Trujillo after the altercation as well as report his use of force.
"His actions, taken as a whole, it's clearly inconsistent with our values and mission," said Cmdr. Matt Murray. "He was disciplined accordingly.
"There was lots of alternatives, he had lots of choices, that is paramount in this decision," Murray continued.
However, Medina's lawyer, Donald Sisson, asserts that the video does not provide enough evidence that points to the officer's supposed wrongdoing.
Medina claims that Trujillo never passed out.
"What he says is 'she never passed out.' She was smiling or smirking at him," Sisson said. "A few seconds after she pops up of her own free will.
"There is no inappropriate use of force," Sisson continued. "All he did was take her down. I don't see how this is a termination case."
Since joining the force in 1999, Medina has been awarded 15 commendations but has been the subject of nine disciplinary actions.
Source: The Denver Post Photo Credit: The Denver Post