Cop charged in fight accepts deferred prosecution
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s investigator charged with assault after striking a man at an Aspen restaurant last summer received a deferred prosecution instead of a jury trial this morning.
Joe DiSalvo, the head of investigations for the sheriff’s office, appeared in Aspen Municipal Court at City Hall for what turned into an agreement between city prosecutor David Hoefer and defense attorney Pamela Mackey.
The deferred prosecution, approved by the judge, means that so long as DiSalvo doesn’t break any laws in any jurisdiction (excluding all traffic offenses) for one year, the prosecutor will dismiss the charge and he can’t be tried for the alleged crime. The deal is retroactive to June 22 ” date of the altercation.
On the other hand, if DiSalvo does violate any laws, the matter will again be set for trial.
Today’s agreement did not involve any plea from DiSalvo.
As part of the deal, he will pay $150 in administrative costs to the municipal court. This afternoon, he is expected to deliver a check for approximately $4,200 to the victim’s attorney to cover medical expenses ” restitution agreed upon between the defense and the prosecution.
In addition, the municipal charge of misdemeanor assault and battery against DiSalvo was amended to disorderly conduct, which includes a section dealing with fighting and quarreling.
DiSalvo was eating dinner with his wife and friends in the bar at Jimmy’s Restaurant on June 22. He told police that two women entered the bar area and began looking on the floor for an earring, and he threw a couple of dollar bills on the floor in their direction as a joke.
One of the women told her boyfriend, Tom Drake, about DiSalvo’s actions. DiSalvo claimed Drake came over to talk to him about the incident and appeared threatening, so DiSalvo struck him.
According to a police report, Drake’s left cheek was swollen from the punch; he was checked out by medics, but wasn’t taken to the hospital.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to Tom Drake,” DiSalvo said in municipal court. “He never pushed or hit me … and I hope that we can now both move on.”
Drake, who attended the proceedings, was asked if he had anything to say, but declined to comment. He later told The Aspen Times: “I’m glad it has been resolved, and maybe at a later date I’ll have more to say.”
DiSalvo took a brief, voluntary leave of absence from his job with the sheriff’s office shortly after the incident, but has been working as head of investigations ever since. The disposition of the case will not affect his job, he said.
Sheriff Bob Braudis is currently on vacation, “but he is standing by me,” DiSalvo said after the proceedings. “Hopefully this will be just a memory soon.”
Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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