Alex Landau beating: Denver cops puts case on pause as FBI investigates
Update below: Alex Landau talks about the news. Three years-plus since Alex Landau was beaten bloody after being pulled over for what officers cited as an illegal left turn, and a year since he was paid $795,000 by Denver City Council, the case against the officers involved faces another delay. This morning, Manager of Safety Alex Martinez and Denver Police Chief Robert White released a joint statement announcing that their continuing investigation will pause until the FBI completes its own.
"The FBI and Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice are moving forward with an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Alexander Landau...by Denver Police Department officers to determine if the officers violated federal law," confirms Dave Joly, media coordinator for the FBI's Denver division.
At this point, the Denver Police Department has yet to recommend action regarding the officers involved in the case: Ricky Nixon, Randy Murr and Tiffany Middleton. In the meantime, both Murr and Nixon have been fired (and unfired, and then re-fired) for their roles in the Denver Diner incident (Nixon) and Michael DeHerrera assault (Murr), although both are appealing that most recent decision.
Surveillance image from the Denver Diner incident.
In the early months of his new position, White promised closure in the Landau case through a disciplinary recommendation, but his self-imposed deadlines in April and May have not resulted in a decision. As of last month, the department began conducting re-enactments of the January 2009 incident to gather additional information. Landau declined to participate.
"Last month, we decided to conduct additional investigation in the Alex Landau case before making a final administrative decision," White and Martinez say in this morning's statement. "Our purpose was to be certain we understand the descriptions of the incident given by witnesses, and to reach the right resolution. The investigation is now complete."
But if you've been keeping track, that doesn't mean there's a decision. In fact, there (still) isn't. "We have been informed by the FBI of an investigation to determine if any civil rights violations occurred," the statement continues.
For months, the Colorado Progressive Coalition and the ACLU of Colorado, among others, have lobbied the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Denver Police Department's standard of practices, but according to the DPD, this recently announced review is more specific. "It is our understanding this Department of Justice investigation is not a pattern and practices civil investigation into the Denver Police Department; rather, it is a criminal investigation into the actions of the individual officers involved in the Landau case," the statement reads. "We will wait until the DOJ's investigation is complete to make a final decision."
Manager of Safety Alex Martinez.
After the DOJ concludes its own investigation, White will give a disciplinary recommendation to Martinez, who makes the final decision.
Continue through for Landau's take on the announcement.