Alex Landau frustrated by cop reinstatement, latest delay in bloody beating investigation
Landau says he was under the impression that the Denver Police's investigation into his beating had been completed and an announcement about possible action against the officers would be immediately forthcoming. But on February 11, the Monday after the Justice Department's announcement about the case (it broke late the previous Friday, during a time when newsmakers tend to release information they hope won't get much media attention), he phoned Denver Police Chief Robert White and found out differently.
According to Landau, White told him the DPD's investigation hadn't been concluded, so he called Manager of Safety Alex Martinez's office in the hope of finding out what was going on. But he says a member of Martinez's staff subsequently phoned the Colorado Progressive Coalition, an advocacy organization for which Landau now works, and told Mu Son Chi, the CPC's racial justice and civil rights director, that the manager would not meet with him at this time.
Why not? In her response, Daelene Mix, Martinez's communications director, partly contradicts Landau's impression from his chat with White. She says that the Denver Police have indeed offered a "recommendation" about action that should be taken in regard to officers Murr, Nixon and Middleton. However, the Manager of Safety's Office can't move forward because it's waiting for material from the Justice Department's investigation.
"They haven't provided us the additional information we have requested," she says. "We're awaiting that information so that we can wrap up our investigation. Until we receive that, we're not in a position to discuss anything new with Mr. Landau."
Mix, who points out that Martinez has met with Landau "several times since he came into office," points out that authorities initially decided against charging Murr, Nixon and Middleton. The case was reopened after the $795,000 settlement, but Mix says Martinez needs to see "anything new that would warrant the original decision not to pursue charges to be overturned." And while she can understand Landau's impatience, she goes on, "it's very important that we look at all the facts and evidence in the case so we can come to the right conclusion. Absent the facts from the FBI, we would not be doing our due diligence."
Problem is, the feds have not given any indication when they'll fork over the evidence in question. "We've requested it, but we don't know when we'll receive it," Mix says. "We have no control over that."
A more recent photo of Alex Landau.
This reasoning leaves Landau cold. "There seems to be no real urgency to conclude it. And how is that supposed to make any civilian feel?"
On the subject of Murr, Landau stresses that "I personally feel like he should be prosecuted. But whether he's terminated for what happened to Michael DeHerrera or my assault, the facts are that not only was he involved in multiple high-profile cases over a short period of time, but he's a dangerous officer who's been reinstated. And that should raise a red flag for the community. The community should know there's another dangerous cop who's allowed to patrol the streets again."
At the Friday event, Landau says he and other speakers, including DeHerrera and representatives of the Colorado Progressive Coalition, will deliver recommendations about how to change things for the better in the immediate future, the middle term and the long run. Among them: come up with a mechanism to resolve cases like his much more quickly. After all, he notes, "it's been over four years."
Continue for more information about the Friday event, the federal lawsuit, and photos of Landau after his 2009 beating. Warning: They're graphic.