Law Enforcement

Arapahoe Sheriff Skates After Dumba$$ Bowling Alley Brawl

Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown wound up on the wrong side of an investigation.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown wound up on the wrong side of an investigation. CBS4 Denver
Why won't Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown face criminal charges for taking part in an ultra-stupid brawl at a local bowling alley? In part because everyone involved in the scrap may have been drunk, including him. But while Denver District Attorney Beth McCann won't be prosecuting Brown, she disapproves of his actions.

"Having concluded that criminal charges are not warranted, I want to make it clear that the behavior of Sheriff Brown in this situation was irresponsible and unprofessional for an elected sheriff," McCann said in a statement. "I am not in a position to take any further action with regard to this situation, as my role is to determine if criminal charges should be filed. I will leave any further action to the officials and voters of Arapahoe County."

When reports about an investigation of Brown first surfaced late last month, few details were available. But an arrest affidavit obtained by Denver7 after McCann's conclusion paints a portrait of escalating stupidity.

During an August 21 visit to Pindustry, a new entertainment complex in Greenwood Village, Brown is said to have been upset when a man persistently asked for his wife's contact information, eventually tossing the prospective suitor's phone over his shoulder. The sheriff later told investigators that when another dude tried to grab a woman in his group, he put him into a "twist-lock."

A video that captured the incident showed Brown forcefully grabbing an adult male by the neck and shoving him across the bowling alley's bar. Shortly thereafter, a man punched Brown in the head from behind.

After Pindustry staffers broke up the scuffle, Brown's antagonist split. The sheriff is then said to have threatened to shut down the bar and take its liquor license.

This warning didn't prevent Pindustry from reporting the problem to authorities, or the Greenwood Village Police Department from looking into the matter.

Arapahoe County District Attorney John Kellner then asked McCann to determine whether Brown should be charged for his actions. In a release issued yesterday, September 9, she summarized her reasons for deciding against doing so with six bullet points:
All parties involved have legal defenses that could be asserted.

All parties were drinking, and their testimony is not reliable.

The parties involved who could be considered victims of the sheriff’s conduct do not wish to proceed with criminal charges.

There were no serious injuries.

Criminal justice resources would be better spent focusing on serious crimes with willing and credible witnesses.

There is no reasonable likelihood of a conviction.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office released the following statement after Brown learned he was off the hook: "Sheriff Brown would like to thank the Denver District Attorney’s Office for conducting an unbiased review of the incident. This was an unfortunate event that put the sheriff in the unwelcome position of having to protect and defend his wife. Sheriff Brown trusts the legal process and is looking forward to putting these events behind him."

No doubt — but there's a good chance they'll resurface if he chooses to run for re-election.
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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