Michael Bruce (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)
A Longmont private security guard has been arrested after police said he hit a homeless man in the face with a baton.
Michael Bruce, 37, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault, felony menacing, theft and criminal mischief.
According to an affidavit, Bruce works for Front Range Patrol, a private security company based out of Commerce City.
An attorney representing Front Range Patrol declined further comment Friday.
According to the affidavit, a Longmont police officer was on patrol in the 1600 block of Main Street when he was approached by a witness who said Bruce had just assaulted another man.
The officer saw the man with blood covering the side of his face. He was taken to a hospital, where doctors said he had a deep one-inch gash on his head that would require stitches or would need to be glued shut.
Longmont police were able to obtain security camera footage of the incident. According to the affidavit, the footage shows Bruce drive up to the witness and the named victim in a service vehicle and “aggressively” talk to them.
The footage shows Bruce follow the men down an alley as he appears to exchange words with them. According to the affidavit, Bruce strikes one of the men in the face and then draws his flashlight and service weapon, and gestures at the ground as if ordering the man to lie down.
When the man does not lie down and instead begins to walk away, police said Bruce appears to strike the man in the face two times with a tool in his left hand.
According to the affidavit, in an interview with police Bruce said he believed the two men were “transients” and were trespassing. Bruce said one of them was “lippy,” so Bruce told the man he would “draw down” on him.
Bruce said he thought the man was reaching into his pocket for a possible weapon, so he drew his firearm. When the man did not produce a weapon, Bruce said he grabbed his baton instead. Bruce said that the man flicked a cigarette at him and that Bruce felt “tension” in his baton, so he hit the man in what he thought was the shoulder.
According to the affidavit, Bruce said the Front Range Patrol policy is “match force with force,” but Bruce admitted the man never struck him. Bruce did not have his body-worn camera on, as he said it had died. He also did not call in the incident to dispatch and did not file a use of force report.
The mischief and theft charges stem from separate allegations in which a man at a homeless camp near 2255 Main St. said Bruce stole some of his items and ran others over with his vehicle early Thursday morning.
Bruce is set for a formal filing of charges Tuesday.
According to online court records, Bruce has prior convictions for third-degree assault and driving without a license.