Michael DeHerrera talks about reinstatement of cops who beat him (VIDEO)

michael deherrera attack cropped-thumb-130x130.jpg
Video below.
Update: After two police officers fired for the 2009 on-camera beating of Michael DeHerrera were reinstated to their jobs, we spoke to Anthony DeHerrera, Michael's father and a law enforcement veteran, about his displeasure with the decision. His words are echoed by Michael himself, who calls the move "shocking. It seems like they've used every loophole to their advantage, and they continue to do so."

Michael says he got the news about the reinstatement of Officer Devin Sparks and Corporal Randy Murr, who can be seen in a video below attacking DeHerrera while he used a cell phone, from his father.

michael deherrera mug shot.jpg
Michael DeHerrera's mug shot, taken after the attack.
As for Anthony, he received a heads-up from Richard Rosenthal, the city's Independent Monitor. Rosenthal declined to comment on the turn of events when contacted by Westword, as we noted in our post about Mayor Michael Hancock's decision to appeal the reinstatement.

The ruling "caught me off-guard," Michael admits. "I was really surprised and very confused as to what exactly was going on. It kind of came out of nowhere." He knew Sparks and Murr had appealed their sacking, but action by the Denver Civil Service Commission "kept getting postponed. So I didn't think this would happen when it did, or happen in this way," with the commission determining that because Sparks and Murr had accepted an initial three-day suspension imposed by then-Manager of Safety Ron Perea, their subsequent canning constituted double jeopardy.

The officers have been assigned desk jobs, and Michael thinks that's appropriate. "They've made wrong decisions on the street before, and I don't think they should be entitled to make those decisions again," he maintains. Still, he adds, "I would assume any of the outstanding cops at the Denver Police Department wouldn't want them on staff, because it will essentially make them look bad, too."

He would have never guessed the case would drag out for so long -- well over two years at this point. "I knew it would be a long process," he concedes, "but everything seemed so clear. The video speaks for itself, so we thought everything was laid out for things to happen smoothly and efficiently. But we've gone through two internal affairs investigations and so many appeals. And when things go on like this, some people give up and go away. They don't want to deal with it anymore. They want to get back to their lives; they lose hope and don't see any chance for a positive outcome."

michael deherrera good morning america.jpg
Michael DeHerrera during an appearance on Good Morning America.
He's had similar thoughts at times, "but I have great people behind me, who encourage me and help me refocus on what happened. And there need to be changes, so it doesn't happen to anybody else."

Regarding the reinstatement itself, Michael thinks supporters of Sparks and Murr are "just trying to make excuses," he allows. "It's clear there was lying in the case, and there was obviously excessive force. They just found another loophole, where they think they're getting vindication from the ruling. But no one's saying they didn't lie, and no one's saying they didn't use excessive force. And that's what we need to keep the focus on."

With that in mind, Michael plans to cooperate with a Department of Justice inquiry into the incident -- get more details below -- and will keep speaking out. "it's very discouraging that this is the current state of the case," he says. "But hopefully this is just a minor setback, and we'll see the right results again soon."

Read our earlier coverage below.

Original item, 8:50 a.m. September 7: Anthony DeHerrera has been through plenty of ups and downs since the police beating of Michael DeHerrera, his son. First, a decision was made not to fire the two officers involved in the incident. Then, the pair was sacked. And now, they've been reinstated by the Denver Civil Service Commission.

DeHerrera's response? "We're sick about it," he says.

The incident at the heart of the situation took place in April 2009. As can be seen in the video on view below, DeHerrera appears to simply be speaking on a cell phone when Officer Devin Sparks begins hammering at him, apparently without provocation. The High Activity Location Observation camera, part of the city's HALO system, also captures Corporal Randy Murr joining in the action.

The investigation into the matter dragged on and on. Then, in August 2010, Denver Manager of Safety Ron Perea determined that Sparks and Murr should be suspended for three days without pay but not fired -- a conclusion so controversial that Perea resigned. This past March, then-Manager of Safety Charley Garcia fired Sparks and Murr. However, they appealed the decision, and the commission sided with them. The reason, according to 9News, is that the cops had already accepted Perea's punishment, making Garcia's move to sack them for the same offense the equivalent of double jeopardy.

In a statement, interim Manager of Safety Ashley Kilroy said she supported Garcia's decision to can Sparks and Murr. We've e-mailed the office of Mayor Michael Hancock for a comment about the possibility of appealing the decision. If and when we receive a response, we'll update this post.

For his part, Anthony DeHerrera, who spent more than two decades as a deputy in Pueblo, has plenty to say. He calls the decision to reinstate the officers "very disappointing. It's a blow to the citizens of Denver in general."

Nick Rogers, president of the Police Protective Association, feels differently, telling 9News that Sparks and Murr never deserved termination in the first place. This claim upsets DeHerrera. "He's trying to make it seem like the cops are innocent, and that's why they got their job back," he maintains. "But this is in no way saying they're innocent. It's saying Ron Perea's very bad decision is the one that needs to be held up."

Regarding the double-jeopardy argument, DeHerrera says he understands the reasoning behind it "to a point, but not totally, because they never served their suspension. And Ron Perea reopened the investigation before he resigned, so I don't see how they could see it as Charles Garcia overturning the decision."

Thus far, Michael DeHerrera hasn't returned a call for comment -- but Anthony says "he's upset -- and he's ready to fight again. We've been fighting this for two-and-a-half years, and we're not going to stop now. The union says they're in it to the bitter end, and so are we."

News that the officers will be working desk jobs for now doesn't placate DeHerrera. "They shouldn't have a badge or a gun," he stresses. "They should be in jail. Anybody else would have been in jail."

Now, he's pinning his hopes on a possible appeal by the city attorney and an ongoing investigation by other agencies. "I talked to the FBI two weeks ago. They finally got all the files from the Denver Police Department after all this time, if you can believe that, and they've passed it on to the Department of Justice. They're looking into a possible civil-rights violation."

Meanwhile, the reversal of fortune is "very frustrating, especially with me being in law enforcement for 23 years," he goes on. "It's amazing, just amazing the amount of corruption going on over there."

Look below to see a Denver Post video of the April 2009 beating.

More from our News archive: "Alexander Landau got pulled over for an illegal left turn -- and ended up beaten bloody."

My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
edward c. stengel
edward c. stengel

This is a lot of bull crap.  There was a crime committed here - assault and battery by police against a boy.  They should be prosecuted.  All this internal affairs stuff is a complete waste of time.  Coppers always stick up for each other.  If the state won't prosecute them for assault and battery, the federal govenment should prosecute them for civil rights violations.

Render-aid, dumbazzes!
Render-aid, dumbazzes!

Gee.. I am not surprised. My ex bf held me at gunpoint threatening homicide and suicide, and I turned him in to the police Dept...yep, sure did. Ya' know what they did? Not a God D&%! thing!! Well, they did threaten ME, the victim. This is in a major city. 95% of all US Cops are p*ssies, period. They reap what they sow. As long as cops continue to be arrogant asinines/imbeciles, they can have the whole country hating then for all I care  ;P

Curious
Curious

Any one else notice when the cop grabbed the guy by the back the head to slam him to the ground the person controlling the webcam panned the camera away so the cop wouldn't be shown on video violating the law by beating this kid up. And when the beating was done he zoomed back in. Who is the person controlling these cameras?

Cense2
Cense2

Exactly.. Who controlls this type and all media?

Benhoganloan
Benhoganloan

Cop killer better you than me. Cop killer FUCK police brutality! Cop killer I know your families grievin. Fuck em! Cuz tonight we get even! - Ice T

Benhoganloan
Benhoganloan

If he pulled out a legal handgun to defend himself hed be facing terrorism charges. The death penalty. This is exactly why we have the right to keep and bear arms. To protect ourself from our goverment.

kc
kc

the police had the man on the ground knocked out and could have put him in the police car before DeHerrera even got there, thenthere would have been no need for the phone call to his father and all the last two years of anxiety and misery couldhave been avoided for this brave and courageous family

Guest Who
Guest Who

why do you think this happens in Denver every year and won't stop anytime soon?

If you got beef with C-O-P'sThrow a Molotov at the P-I-G's - BOots Riley

dr. angelface
dr. angelface

michael hancock is in the police union's pocket. which is why i didn't vote for him.

pretty piss-poor successor to Hick we got here. expect things from the police-brutality front to get a whole lot worse before they get better.

Ray Denonville
Ray Denonville

John Lamb the corrupt tyrant and Chief of Administration of the Denver Police is responsible for the violence and lies, he taught this crap to the police. 

maryxiao
maryxiao

I suggest youMySingleParentMatch.c0m for all single mothers andfathers to find true love online .

Frosty_31
Frosty_31

does anyone know if that was his car behind the jeep and cop car... maybe his dad was telling him to get home and thats why he started yelling??

Frosty_31
Frosty_31

and hang up you cell.. would this have happen if he had blue tooth?

Guest
Guest

Los Angeles circa 1990, people armed themselves against the police because the police could not be trusted. Many officers were killed or injured.  Denver isn't LA, but this type of over the top abuse is just crazy.  Anyone can see that these cops committed a crime.

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

Ummmm you clearly were not in LA in 1992. People armed themselves to go loot and shoot random people. Not a single police officer died during the riots.

Stevig1988
Stevig1988

That's just disturbing to watch can't believe these fools are being reinstated!

GetReal
GetReal

I wonder how long before people begin to arm themselves in order to protect themselves from these thugs?  Are we supposed to simply take a beating since it is coming from law enforcement?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I was wrong (and didn't deserve the like)

The Civil Service Commission hearing officers found that since incompetent Ron Perea had let the original order of discipline stand for ten days and it had become final, there was no legal basis for imposing the appropriate discipline (i.e termination) when Ron got around to it -- I say incompetent, but this could easily have been a strategem to placate the police union's completely out-of-touch leadership. I hope that there is some basis for the Commissioners to overturn the decision of the hearing officers, but LaCabe is responsible for this disaster. Whatever the Commission decides, this will be taken to court, and the lawyers will get paid.

Brian Martinez
Brian Martinez

The Civil Service Commission has put all of us on notice: the Denver Uniformed Thug Department can beat the shit out of anyone mercilessly, for any reason at all, and they won't suffer any consequences for it.  It's a carte blanche for the pigs to beat, rob, rape, and murder, and they can hide behind the shield and their whores on the Civil Service Commission when called to account for their actions.

What a joke.  Fuck the cops, and fuck the cowards on the Civil Service Commission.

Prole
Prole

oh big fucking surprise...

Let the heat die down and give them a desk job once the elections are over. If anyone honestly thinks the Denver Police (or Sheriffs, for that matter) Department will ever hold any of their own thugs accountable for the atrocities they've committed against the people of this region, they should immediately seek medical attention in order to get their head removed from their ass.

I find it tremendously humorous that at the last anti-police terror demonstration last July (where three were arrested and manhandled by a gang of cops for allegedly putting stickers depicting murdered police victim Marvin Booker on various surfaces) that the only people cheering on the police, when further questioned by a radio reporter, had literally no idea about any of the major brutality cases in this city and didn't even live within city limits.

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

There is no excuse for that kind of behavior.  If I was a Denver Police Officer, I would ask that those cops remain off the force.  Besides, there are plenty of people willing and able to become police officers.  We don't need or want those guys on the force.   

What about the camera guy zooming out because he knows what they were doing was wrong.  Who is that guy?

Guest
Guest

There is no rule of law in America. 

Johnmr
Johnmr

Remember, if you ever see a Denver cop in a jam...just keep walking

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...