Denver Diner: Attorney, witness of brutality incident decry accused cops' back-to-work order
Update: Last week, we noted that Denver police officers Ricky Nixon and Kevin Devine had been given the go-ahead by the Denver Civil Service Commission to hit the streets again despite having been fired last year for their actions in the 2009 billy-clubbing and macing incident at the Denver Diner. However, a lawsuit over the men's Diner actions is still pending. Look below for a comment from the attorney in that case, plus the other takes from excessive-force critics, followed by our original coverage.
Big photos below.
As is detailed in the lawsuit, also included here, Kelly Boren, Sharelle Thomas, Ana Ortega and Kristal Carrillo were at the restaurant in 2009 when they say Nixon and Devine menaced them with nightsticks, pulled or shoved a number of them to the ground and sprayed them with mace despite no compelling evidence of actual wrongdoing. This contention is illustrated later in this post by a series of photos showing Nixon and Devine in action.
Siddhartha Rathod, the lawyer representing the women in the filing, stresses that the suit remains active. Right now, he says, the plaintiffs are awaiting rulings on motions by the City of Denver, and while no trial date has been set, he's hopeful that one will be established in the not-too-distant future.
In the meantime, Rathod provided the following statement:
The four women who were assaulted and brutalized by Denver Police officers Ricky Nixon and Kevin Devin in front of the Denver Diner are disappointed, but not surprised, by the latest decision by the Civil Service Commission to serve and protect their own. The Denver Police department has a long standing culture of failing to discipline officers who engage in rampant constitutional violations, sending clear messages to the entire department that police brutality and dishonesty are tolerated.Also weighing in is Mu Son Chi, racial justice and civil-rights director for the Colorado Progressive Coalition, an organization that has teamed up with Alex Landau a student who was beaten bloody in a separate matter involving Officer Nixon. The City of Denver subsequently paid Landau a $795,000 settlement, even though the case against Nixon has yet to be resolved; it's currently the subject of a federal inquiry.
"The city of Denver has yet again shown its inability to remove dangerous and lying officers from the streets," Chi said in a statement. In his view, the "decision is yet another example of the city's lack of institutional control over its law enforcement agency. More than ever, we need outside intervention by the federal government. We are again calling on the United States Department of Justice to launch a patterns and practices of abuse investigation into Denver law enforcement.
"Additionally, we are calling on the Mayor to meet with us to talk about these issues," he added. "Many people in the community do not know that the mayor is refusing to meet with police accountability groups."
"We know that many officers do their jobs with honesty and integrity. However, it is imperative that we remove violent officers from the streets," she said in a statement of her own. "We are calling on officers to step forward and speak out with their concerns about Denver law enforcement. Our 'Blue Line' offers a confidential way for officers to share concerns that exist within Denver law enforcement. We are asking officers who have been unable to address their concerns, because of fear of retribution or inadequate responses, to cross the blue line of silence and to begin working with us to begin making our community a safer place."
Continue to read our previous coverage, which features photos of the Denver Diner incident and the lawsuit against officers Nixon and Devine.