The Democratic nominee for governor in Colorado was involved in a physical altercation with a former female employee in 1999 and pushed her, police records show.
Jared Polis, who’s running against Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton in the November general election, pushed ex-employee Patricia Hughes after she attempted to leave the office of his company, JPS International LLC, with stolen documents, according to a police report first obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Polis – who at the time was legally named Jared Polis Schutz – told the police officers that Hughes, who resigned from her position at the company, told him on the day of the altercation she had information to “go after” him if her departure from the company wasn’t smooth.
“After hanging up with the dispatcher, Ms. Hughes attempted to leave the office. Mr. Schutz physically blocked the door to prevent her from leaving. She moved toward him again, this time hitting him with one of her bags. Mr. Schutz then put both of his hands on her shoulders and pushed her back to prevent her from leaving,” the police report read.
"Mr. Schutz physically blocked the door to prevent her from leaving. She moved toward him again, this time hitting him with one of her bags. Mr. Schutz then put both of his hands on her shoulders and pushed her back to prevent her from leaving."
Polis' campaign disputes Hughes' version of events. Hughes later faced a deferred sentence for theft of trade secrets stemming from that incident.
“Jared Polis was the victim of a crime, was the person who called the police, and was found to have done nothing wrong. Shame on Walker Stapleton for trying to exploit that,” Lisa Kaufmann, Polis for Colorado campaign chair, said in a statement.
Campaign Communications Director Mara Sheldon said the ex-employee stole from Polis and, at the time of the altercation, "she was smacking him with [her] purse." That's when he pushed her back, she said, but "not hard."
Another police report detailed Hughes’ version of the confrontation, alleging that he “grabbed her and pushed her back into the office” and hurt her leg.
"I did observe two bruise marks on Ms. Hughes left inside bicep and a red welt on her thigh. She stated that the bruises on her arms were from Mr. Schutz ‘grabbing' her with his right hand."
“Hughes said that she then said that she was going to call 911 and went to the phone. Hughes said that she tried calling 911 three times and twice Schutz hung the phone up. The third time Hughes got through,” the report said.
The officer who interviewed the woman made notes about her appearance following the altercation, including that she had bruises -- though the origin of those bruises was unclear.
“I did observe two bruise marks on Ms. Hughes' left inside bicep and a red welt on her thigh. She stated that the bruises on her arms were from Mr. Schutz ‘grabbing' her with his right hand,” the officer wrote in a report. “The bruises were not conducive with Mr. Schutz's statement that he pushed her shoulders. Nor were they conducive with Ms. Hughes's statement of Mr. Schutz standing in front of her and grabbing her.”
“The welt on her thigh she said was from Mr. Schutz pushing her back when she attempted to leave. The welt was conducive with the a [sic] file cabinet in front of the door. There was also a key protruding from the upper right hand corner of the cabinet that could have produced the welt,” the notes read.
Two days after the incident, Hughes was granted a temporary restraining order against Polis, according to the Free Beacon. A few weeks later, the order was revoked.
Polis was named as the victim of the incident as the woman was found carrying stolen documents that belonged to the company. Police said Hughes “did knowingly and unlawfully take several files with original contracts and other sensitive documents” from her former employer. She was later charged and pled guilty to stealing trade secrets.
Following the revelation of the police reports, Polis' Republican opponent released a statement attacking Polis for pushing the woman.
“Violence against women is never acceptable and Jared Polis needs to take responsibility for his actions,” said Jerrod Dobkin, the communications director for the Stapleton campaign, according to Colorado Public Radio.