Denver police brutality scandal: A multimedia timeline

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This week's cover story, "The Watcher," details the role Denver's Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal has played in the ongoing controversy involving city law enforcement and alleged police brutality. It's a scandal that's made nationwide news and is shaping the mayoral race. How did the hullabaloo come about? Check out a timeline below of the major developments, along with video and photos of some of the controversial incidents in question.

July 2010: Ron Perea, former special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service's Los Angeles division, who'd helped run security during Denver's Democratic National Convention, becomes Denver's Manager of Safety, replacing retiring Safety Manager Al Lacabe.

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Marvin Booker.
July 9, 2010: Homeless street preacher Marvin Booker dies in jail in the new Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center.

August 11, 2010: Booker's family calls for video of the jailhouse incident to be released.

August 13, 2010: City pays out $20,000 to settle lawsuit filed by James Watkins, who claimed Denver police tech John Ruddy and Sergeant Randy Penn used excessive force and left him with facial lacerations and other injuries in a April 4, 2009 incident.

August 14, 2010: News breaks that Perea has chosen not to fire officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr for the beating of Michael DeHerrera, 23, outside a LoDo nightclub on the same night Watkins says he was assaulted by the police, overriding Rosenthal's recommendation. Instead, Perea docked each of the officers three days' pay, even though a video of the altercation, captured by the DPD's High Activity Location Observation (HALO) surveillance system, shows the officers tackling DeHerrera, beating him with a sap and slamming his ankle in a car door after he'd apparently done nothing other than make a call on his cell phone:

August 16, 2010: Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal and members of DeHerrera's family speak out about Perea's decision on Good Morning America, as the story spreads to CNN, Gawker and other national outlets.

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 As a reporter isn't your job to get both sides of the story. In your article the president of the Police Protective Association mentions information that has yet to be released regarding the controversial "beating" of DeHerrera.  Why has that information not been made public?  Why hasn't the media chased that story?  Because it is not politically correct to do so?  Where are the facts of this case and where are all the legitimate reporters?  


At the mayoral forum on police accountability, none of the eight candidates endorsed independent investigation of citizens' complaints against police.  This would only require that a minority of investigative positions within the Denver Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau be transferred to an independent agency (since most complaints against police officers are lodged by other officers).  Instead, we rely on the sham system of oversight Hickenlooper instituted two years ago -- a "Citizen Oversight Board", which has no authority over the imposition of discipline, and consists of the Mayor's friends, and an "Independent Monitor", who also has no authority over the imposition of discipline, and serves at the Mayor's pleasure.  Why won't Denver's pols even consider a system of independent investigation of police misconduct which has worked in San Francisco for thirty years?

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