Federal Heights, CO- Federal Heights Police Department Cpl. Mark Magness pleaded guilty to attempted assault in June after he was terminated by the department last December as a result of excessive force used by Magness on a suspect in custody.
The encounter between Magness and suspect Kent Lasnik occurred on December 6, and the footage was recently made available to the media. Lasnik, who had been arrested for allegedly attacking a liquor store employee, was taken by Magness and his partner into booking, where the encounter turned violent and Magness appeared to lose his temper. The Denver Post obtained and published raw footage of the incident, seen below.
The video shows, from the body camera of an officer identified as David Romero, Lasnik being removed from a police vehicle. While being pulled out of the car and into the station by Magness, Lasnik is thrown into a refrigerator, leaving a large cut on his chin that later required stitches.
Magness can later be heard shouting and swearing at Lasnik inside a cell, who shouted back at Magness. Lasnik is seen raising a hand to Magness, and Magness then struck Lasnik several times in the cell. Prosecutors said that Magness punched Lasnik at least seven times while Lasnik was seated on the bench, and hit another five times while on the ground.
Magness’s own body camera shows him grabbing a restraint chair and shoving it across a room while swearing, and it appears that his partner was encouraging him to calm down. Magness’s partner then strapped Lasnik down in the restraint chair as Magness squeezed the man’s temples to keep him still.
Later in the footage, Magness acknowledged that he’d “busted him up” and would “take full responsibility.” Lasnik was charged misdemeanor assault and has since considered taking legal action.
Magness was fired following an internal investigation and was charged earlier this year with assault. After pleading guilty, Magness was sentenced to one year of probation and court costs. The Denver Post reported that a second officer had been disciplined in the case.
The December incident led to the second time that Magness has pleaded guilty to assault. He was criminally charged in 2009 for using excessive force on a man named Dennis Discua by throwing him to the ground and breaking his arm. According to Fox 31, Discua called 911, dispatchers sent the closest officer who happened to be Magness. When Magness returned to the scene he allegedly pretended to be unaware of Discua’s situation.
“Officer Magness has had a history of being very aggressive with suspects,” Romero told prosecutors. “He’s been told he’s had anger issues before and like I say, it’s taken a SGT or another officer to do it and there’s been time where he’s able himself to calm down.”
Federal Heights Police Chief Karl Wilmes, who was not the department’s Chief in 2009, said he did not know the facts of that case and said that he has “no idea why” Magness was still employed by the department after that 2009 incident.