(COLORADO SPRINGS) — According to the arrest affidavit for El Paso County Deputy Daniel Garcia, accusations of a stolen cell phone lead to Garcia’s arrest on charges of menacing and misconduct, after he allegedly pointed his gun at a car full of teenagers while he was off duty.
The affidavit states that four victims were interviewed, three unnamed 18-year-olds and one 16-year-old, about an incident that occurred in February of 2023. The victims took one of their cars to a park to hang out, and while they were at the park, a woman got out of a white Dodge Durango and started “sprinting” at them.
According to the affidavit, the victims did not know the woman and were suspicious of why she was running at them, so they went back to their car and left. After leaving and driving back by the park, the victims said the Durango was following them, some of the victims describing it as “chasing” them.
While trying to get away from the Durango, the victims said they drove through a neighborhood and became trapped in a cul-de-sac. When they tried to turn around and leave, a blue truck they had seen at the park with the Durango blocked their exit.
The victims said a man, later identified as Deputy Daniel Garcia of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO), got out of the truck and immediately pulled a gun. The victims said it was not immediately clear that Garcia was a law enforcement officer, because he was wearing a jacket over his uniform.
This was later corroborated by Deputy Garcia, who told another El Paso County sergeant in a phone call after the incident that he was off duty and was wearing a jacket that covered his uniform.
Deputy Garcia allegedly pointed his gun directly at one of the victims, while yelling for them to stop the car. He questioned them why they were driving at excessive speeds through the neighborhood, and one of the victims tried to explain they were being chased by the Durango but Garcia “appeared as if he was not listening.”
The woman in the Durango, who one of the victims identified as the same one who had chased them in the park, accused the group of having stolen her cell phone, but all of them denied knowing anything about a cell phone.
After questioning the victims, Deputy Garcia photographed the driver and her driver’s license, before letting the victims go. It is unclear what relation the woman in the Durango has to Deputy Garcia, because he identities of those involved have been redacted from the arrest affidavit.
Based on interviews from the victims, as well as additional evidence gathered during the investigation into the incident, Garcia was arrested on four counts of felony menacing and a charge of official misconduct on Thursday, May 25.
In the affidavit, the EPSO sergeant that Garcia called following the incident said “He didn’t activate his body worn camera… Pulled a gun. Like he did everything you’re not supposed to do.”