Pitkin County sheriff helps in takedown, ‘can still get out there and wrestle’
October 27, 2017
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo was reminded of his days as a patrol deputy Thursday afternoon when he helped take down a drunk, armed man fighting with his girlfriend outside a downtown bar and restaurant.
"I can't believe the amount of people coming up to me saying, 'You can still get out there and wrestle,'" DiSalvo said Friday. "Part of me is glad that people can still see me do my job."
DiSalvo said he was on his way to get a new pair of glasses about 2:30 p.m. when he ran into Pitkin County Deputy Anthony Todaro, who was off duty and walking his dog. The two began walking and talking until they reached The Red Onion, where they saw a couple who appeared to be fighting exit the bar, he said.
The man — later identified as Henry Miller, 26, of Emma — appeared particularly angry and got within a half-inch of the woman's face and yelled curse words at her, DiSalvo said. Todaro later told an Aspen police officer that Miller was trying to get the woman's bag, according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
Todaro then identified himself and DiSalvo as police officers, though the sheriff said Miller "didn't care."
Miller continued to act aggressively toward the woman, then walked away angrily toward the corner of Cooper Avenue and Mill Street, according to DiSalvo and the affidavit.
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Not long after, Miller walked back toward The Red Onion. When he was 15 yards away, he unsnapped the cover of the brown leather knife holder on his right hip "and put his hand on the folded knife," the affidavit states.
DiSalvo estimated the knife had a 6-inch blade.
"The knife was concerning," he said, "because he was exhibiting some really unpredictable behavior."
Todaro repeatedly warned Miller not to touch the knife, and Miller complied. However, he was "intent on continuing his argument with" the woman and walked over to her and began yelling at her again, according to the affidavit.
Miller then shoved the woman backward with both hands, which prompted DiSalvo and Todaro to jump into action.
"He gave her a pretty good push," DiSalvo said. "Both of us just wrapped him up as quickly as we could."
Neither DiSalvo nor Todaro was armed at the time, though they were able to subdue and disarm Miller without further incident, DiSalvo said.
They then walked Miller over to a chair near the Information Booth at the corner of Cooper and Mill and waited for Aspen police officers to arrive, he said. However, when two officers approached, Miller said, "You know what, f— this!" and stood up to run away, according to the affidavit.
"Mr. Miller was then guided to the ground by all law enforcement present," Aspen police Officer Seth DelGrasso wrote in the affidavit.
Miller's girlfriend later told officers the couple had been together three years, the affidavit states. She said she had been trying to connect with friends via text messages while at The Red Onion, and that he was trying to get her phone to see who she was texting.
"Mr. Miller was upset that she was not spending her energy on him at that moment as he was apparently going through an emotional and 'fearful' time," according to the affidavit. "She believed Mr. Miller … wanted to get arrested because he is stressed and fearful for his life from a drug dealer."
Miller was charged with harassment, domestic violence and resisting arrest.
Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely on Friday allowed Miller to be released from jail on a personal recognizance bond. His girlfriend told authorities she didn't want a protection order issued, which is usually a mandatory action when a person is charged with domestic violence.
Fernandez-Ely ordered that Miller abstain from alcohol and undergo sobriety monitoring.