Sheriff’s investigator is charged with assault
Joe DiSalvo, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office director of investigations, is on administrative leave after being charged with assault and battery stemming from an altercation at an Aspen restaurant Tuesday night.DiSalvo has hired attorney Pamela Mackey, who is representing Kobe Bryant in his sex-assault case in Eagle.She said DiSalvo acted in self-defense, adding that he was injured during the incident and had to see a doctor; she didn’t elaborate.Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson said officers were called to an assault at Jimmy’s Restaurant around dinnertime. He said DiSalvo was issued a summons for municipal assault and battery, a misdemeanor charge.Police were hesitant to release other details of the incident, saying it remains under investigation.
“We’re still collecting information – [DiSalvo] has been issued a summons,” Ryerson said. “I don’t want to get into any details because we’re still looking into things related to the case. We should be able to release more information [today].”The victim of the alleged assault was a man who was not badly injured, Ryerson said.DiSalvo’s administrative leave was “mutually agreed upon,” said Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis.”We talked this morning for 30 or 45 minutes and basically agreed that right now he needs to focus his energy and thoughts on his defense, and not worry about his job as director of investigations,” Braudis said.Sheriff’s Investigator Ron Ryan, who would not comment about the case yesterday, will be in charge of investigations during DiSalvo’s absence, Braudis said.
When reached on Wednesday, DiSalvo said Mackey instructed him not to comment on the case.Mackey sent out a short press release on Wednesday saying that DiSalvo is cooperating fully in the investigation.When reached on the phone Wednesday evening, Mackey said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case, but said, “Joe acted out of self-defense. It’s just what happened.”DiSalvo is scheduled to appear in Pitkin County Municipal Court on Wednesday, June 30.”He has the same rights, responsibilities and obligations as everyone else in the community,” Ryerson said. “Just because he’s a law enforcement officer, he doesn’t abdicate his rights. And we have to go wherever the truth takes us for the same reasons. He’s been an excellent deputy for Pitkin County, and he was excellent when he worked for us. I’m sure it’ll come out for him just fine.”
Ryerson said that if one of his officers faced the same situation, he would encourage them to take responsibility for their part in the incident, and he would support their decision to fight the charges.”I do understand that self-defense is a defense that’s always possible when there’s an assault and battery circumstance, but that’s usually a matter for the court to decide,” Ryerson said.Braudis would not comment on the specifics of the incident, but said that DiSalvo “has a 15-year history of public service professionalism with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.”I’ve witnessed Joe DiSalvo on duty exhibiting incredible levels of restraint in hostile, threatening and very abusive situations,” Braudis said. “He’s had a spotless record for 15 years here. I have a lot of faith in Joe DiSalvo and in the Aspen Police Department to provide a fair investigation.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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