Crime

Amber Groessel & 1st Responder, Police Assaults: Spitting, Scratching and More


The Denver District Attorney's Office has charged Anthony Dennis, Michael Francis and Amber Groessel in separate incidents involving assaults on peace officers or first responders.

But if this description makes the matters seem simple, police reports reveal oddities about each of them.

The alleged weapons include scratching and spit — and Groessel, 24, was apparently the victim of a crime before she was accused of committing one.

Let's take Anthony's case first.


Around 6:20 p.m. on July 18, according to a probable cause statement, an assault call went out at the Denver Detention Center.

What happened?

Dennis had been busted and was refusing to go into his cell — and amid the disturbance that followed, he spat in a deputy's face.

There are no other references to any other method of attack in the police report, and the DA's office mentions the spit alone. But that was enough for Dennis to be accused of second-degree assault on a peace officer. The filing is described in the charging document like so:
On or about July 18, 2015, ANTHONY A. DENNIS, while lawfully confined in a detention facility, with intent to infect, injure, harm, harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm DEPUTY SHERIFF STEVEN ROYBAL, a person in a detention facility whom the defendant knew or reasonably should have known to be an employee of a detention facility, caused such person to come into contact with saliva by any means; in violation of section 18-3-203(1)(f.5), C.R.S.

The situation was similar for Francis, but in place of expectoration, there was torn fabric.

Around 7:48 p.m. on July 19, Francis's PC statement maintains, he was being booked into the Denver Detention Center when he became upset about being denied "the immediate use of a phone."

Francis is said to have reacted by punching a deputy in the head — and after the deputy took him to the ground, Francis allegedly scratched him on the neck and pulled on his uniform until it ripped.

And uniforms aren't cheap, you know.


Still, Groessel's scenario is the weirdest of the bunch.

Just past midnight, the police report says, several people flagged down officers near the intersection of 16th Street and California.

The reason: Amber and her significant other, Jacob Groessel, had been victims of an assault and were both injured.

That was bad enough, but what made it even worse was that Amber was still recovering from being hit by a car a few weeks earlier. Here's a photo from her Facebook page showing her in a wheelchair shortly after it happened:


Amber was on the ground and so disoriented that she couldn't respond to the cops' questions. So an ambulance was called, and paramedics quickly determined that because of "marijuana intoxication," she was incapable of determining whether or not she needed to receive medical treatment.

She wasn't happy about this decision. When paramedics tried to load her into the ambulance, she allegedly "attempted to strike them with her cane."

Then, after being strapped to a pram and loaded into the vehicle, she spit on one paramedic and grabbed the pants leg of another so hard that her fingernails were able to break his skin through the cloth.

As such, Groessel was charged with second- and third-degree assault for actions that took place shortly after she herself was assaulted.

Dennis, Francis and Groessel all remain in custody at this writing on bonds ranging from $50,000 for Dennis to $10,000 for the other pair. All three are due in court tomorrow morning to answer for their alleged spitting, scratching and fabric-tearing....

Here are the aforementioned police documents.

Anthony Dennis, Michael Francis, Amber Groessel Arrest Reports

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts