Politics & Policy

More Trouble in Denver for Hickenlooper as Police ‘Brutality’ Case Stirs Controversy

The decision to reopen a Denver Police Department internal investigation of an April 2009 incident that originally led to charges of police brutality accompanies an outcry from Denver community leaders calling for resignations of Safety Manager Ron Perea:

The announcement comes after prominent Denver Latinos today demanded the resignation of the city’s new safety manager, saying that his decision to keep on the force two police officers accused of covering up the beating a 23-year-old Latino shows he is unfit for the office.

Perea met with about 50 leaders in the Latino and black communities today to defend his decision to allow the officers to keep their jobs despite a video that shows Michael DeHerrera getting tackled to the ground and beaten for doing nothing but talking on a cell phone.

Perea refused to back down from his decision to dock Officer Randy Murr and Cpl. Randy Murr three days pay for filing inaccurate reports about the incident. Several times those in the meeting groaned and issued catcalls to his response that he believed the officers should keep their jobs.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Denver Councilwoman Judy Montero demanded Perea’s resignation.

This case, building on the issue of bias-motivated attacks that occurred in Denver that weren’t made public, threatens Hickenlooper’s governing persona.

The story has quickly spread beyond the local media:

Hickenlooper asked the FBI to issue an independent investigation:

Johnson said he is “thrilled” the city will look at the video again. “I think it’s a positive step in the right direction of the things that need to happen, so I think that’s the first step and I’m happy about that,” he said.

“There was no altercation between me and the officers to justify them attacking us,” said Johnson. […]

Johnson said he’s still waiting for resolution. On Monday, Denver’s Independent Monitor recommended that Murr and Sparks be fired. Denver Safety Manager Ron Perea did not fire the two. He disciplined them for filing an inaccurate police report.

“I think the most just thing would be for them to be fired, and lose the privilege of being an officer, but then also maybe to be charged,” said Johnson. “We both had to be bailed out of jail. We both had to experience being in jail, being fingerprinted, going through processing because they said that we committed these crimes. These officers are actually committing crimes.”


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