Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, was indicted on felony charges including extortion and official misconduct following an alleged sex scandal involving at least three other employees. During this time, inmate Philippa “Pippa” McCully filed a lawsuit claiming she was badly injured during an excessive force episode that occurred while she was incarcerated at the county jail. The inmate refused medical treatment for a knee injury that resulted, which allegedly was bad enough to startle the Miami Dolphin’s team doctor who took a look. The whole incident was captured on video, and the footage seems to support McCully’s story, but McCully’s attorney, Darold Killmler, says the case has dragged on for more than a year in part because of the alleged sex scandal. Killmer believes the open and shut case should have been shut some time ago.
“During the time Sheriff Maketa was misbehaving, incidents of excessive force went way up, because nobody was minding the shop,” says the Denver attorney. “And now, a lot of people who are defendants in our case have lawsuits in and among themselves, which makes it hard to defend the case, since they can’t have the same lawyers.” While his client was seeking a judgment in her case, “at the same time the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting [Maketa], El Paso County is providing a defense for him in this case. They’re tied in so many knots, it’s a wonder they can do anything.” Killmer alleges that McCully’s case was placed on the back burner to make room for the sheriff’s prosecution. Because so much attention was put on Maketa’s case, there simply wasn’t enough manpower to dedicate to the inmate.
The alleged incident occurred between April 21st and 22nd, back in 2014. Killmer recalls his client’s claim as follows: “At the time, Pippa was a Colorado College student, and she found herself in jail because she had an adverse reaction from a mixture of drugs,” he says. “She’s had some really bad cards dealt to her: She had a cancer diagnosis that required the removal of her left ischium, which most people call the butt bone, and she was on a mixture of medications that were designed to treat her cancer and relieve her pain — and she also had some depression associated with her diagnosis. You can imagine that being a young woman heading into the prime of her life and getting a cancer diagnosis would be quite traumatic.”
Killmer claims the college student inmate made rash decisions fueled by a cocktail of medication. McCully was arrested “because she was accused of intending to run somebody over when she was driving her car,” Killmer adds, stating that the original 23 charges against her included four counts of attempted murder. She pleaded guilty to a single count of felony menacing and was sentenced to three years’ probation and community service. But before any of that happened, Killmer continues, “she was in jail, which was a very unfamiliar environment for her. She’s from a well to do family.”
“You can see on the video she wasn’t doing anything wrong. There’s no audio on it, but you can tell she’s not chirping at the guards or doing anything physically non-compliant or aggressive. They walk her up to the wall of the cell; apparently, they’re telling her something like, ‘Get down to your knees.’ So she said something like, ‘Pardon?’ And a woman guard pulls her ankles out from beneath her, causing her face and the top part of her body to hit the floor. She hits face first, and if gravity wasn’t enough, you can see a huge deputy over her left shoulder is pushing down on her — coming down on top of her as she’s going down.”
Killmer says that despite the push back, he is refusing to give up on the case. McCully “is strong,” he says, “And she’s not going to go away.”