Denver Police officer arrested for on-duty assault

Joseph Rodarte. (Courtesy of DPD)

Joseph Rodarte. (Courtesy of DPD)

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Denver Police Sergeant Joseph Rodarte has been arrested in an investigation of second-degree assault that occurred while he was on duty this summer.

Denver Police Internal Affairs conducted a use-of-force review of an Aug. 22 incident and, after consulting the Denver District Attorney’s Office, decided to arrest Rodarte, according to a press release. He has been suspended without pay pending the verdict in the criminal case against him.

Formal charges are still pending, which means body camera footage and the arrest affidavit are not yet available.

Update, 10:30 a.m. Friday: The arrest affidavit release this morning says Rodarte struck a man who might have been having a manic episode with his metal baton. He fractured the man’s nose and two bones in his right leg, and left a laceration above his right eye that required stitches.

On Aug. 22, Rodarte and two officers were dispatched to the 1700 block of South Pecos Street, near Ruby Hill Park, on a report of a black man shouting obscenities, according to the affidavit. While they were searching the area, additional calls came in reporting one man chasing chasing another with a gun near West Warren Avenue and South Kalamath Street. They found the man, who they believed to be experiencing a manic episode, at the intersection of Warren Avenue and Jason Street.

The man fled and after a chase on foot, an officer tripped him. Rodarte hit the man six times with his baton — once in the face, on the middle of his back, on the upper right leg, on the lower right leg, on the lower left leg and  on the upper left leg.

Rodarte has been charged with one count of second-degree assault.