Alex Landau beating: Denver cops puts case on pause as FBI investigates
|Alex Landau now.|
"One thing that really irks me is that the state feels the need to wait for the federal level to take over," Landau says. "They're two completely separate investigations that should not depend on each other. For me, it feels like the city just passed on its disciplinary responsibilities and gave them to the DOJ."
In the three-and-a-half years he has awaited a disciplinary recommendation, Landau has learned to temper his reactions, but the last few months have been a roller coaster. Although he knew about the FBI's investigation, few others did, and when White asked him to take part in the DPD's reenactments of the night that launched this battle, he felt insulted. "I've been really put through the ringer by everyone at the state level," Landau says. "That was disrespectful. Why would you even ask me a question like that?"
In the meantime, the Department of Justice is interested only in the facts related to the original incident, not the years of oversight and legal battles that have ensued, Landau says -- or the incidents Murr and Nixon have been involved with since.
As he moves forward and continues his role in the FBI's ongoing investigation, Landau hopes that the discovery of a civil rights violation might prompt a larger investigation of the department. But when asked what his ideal result is, he hesitates: "That would have been three-and-a-half years ago, when they could have taken them off the force and prevented other incidents," he says of the officers involved. "But we can't really go back, can we? At the very least, now there's national recognition that Denver police are beating their citizens. That's a victory, if you look at it like that. It's a day-to-day struggle."
Landau believes that the investigation is the result of community interaction, the kind he has been working with the Colorado Progressive Coalition to promote since January 2009. "The energy in the community, the outrage and the sheer list of brutality cases in the city all bubbled up to create this force," Landau says. "It was only a matter of time before the FBI got involved. I'm willing to hold out as long as it takes."
Read the ACLU of Colorado's letter to the Department of Justice in full:
ACLU Colo Letter to DOJ
More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Alex Landau refuses to re-enact Denver cop beating."