Mary Beth Klee, new DPD Internal Affairs boss, a brutality apologist, attorney says
Late last month, the Denver Police Department named former district and country judge Jess Vigil to the new position of deputy manager of police discipline -- a move ballyhooed as an indication that the DPD under Chief Robert White is getting serious about brutality allegations. But the attorney for the victims in the Denver Diner case thinks another appointee -- Mary Beth Klee, asked to head the Internal Affairs bureau -- undermines any progress.
Big photo below.
According to Siddhartha Rathod, who represents Kelly Boren, Sharelle Thomas, Ana Ortega and Kristal Carrillo in the Denver Diner lawsuit, "The appointment of Commander Mary Beth Klee as the head of the Internal Affairs Bureau is another example of Denver's failure to protect its citizens and Denver's failure to create a system that disciplines deplorable police conduct. These types of actions further Denver's culture of police brutality and dishonesty."
Why? Rathod, corresponding via e-mail, notes that Klee was among the senior DPD officers to review facts of the Denver Diner incident, including surveillance footage that appears to show officers Ricky Nixon and Kevin Devine roughing up and pepper-spraying his clients without provocation. Nonetheless, Klee found their conduct to be "completely appropriate and lawful," he writes.
Despite this determination, Manager of Safety Charles Garcia fired Nixon and Devine this past April. But they were subsequently reinstated by the city's Civil Service Commission even before a review of Nixon's actions in the Alexander Landau beating was completed. Denver appealed the commission's ruling, but the edict was upheld because the city had filed required paperwork after a deadline.
Mary Beth Klee.
Rathod doesn't see the city's tardiness as a simple mistake. "This is more than incompetence," he allows. "This shows a willful sabotaging of their own case" -- an affront exacerbated, in his view, by Klee's new role.
"Our clients are appalled that...Chief Robert White continually dismisses the Denver Police Department's culture of police brutality and dishonesty as merely a perception issue," he notes, adding that "Klee's involvement in the Denver Diner Incident" makes it "clear that she is a police brutality apologist and upholds the blue code of silence above all else."
At present, the Denver Diner lawsuit is still in the discovery phase; get more information about the case below. In the meantime, Rathod feels that "the Denver Police Department's cowboy subculture of brutality and dishonesty has found an ally in Commander Mary Beth Klee."
Page down to see a CBS4 report featuring excerpts from the HALO video, a frame-by-frame breakdown featuring text from one of the suits, and the lawsuit by plaintiff Kelly Boren.