Denver Diner case: Judge rules City of Denver can be put on trial for police brutality
A huge ruling in the lawsuit related to the 2009 billy-clubbing and macing incident at the Denver Diner. U.S. District Court Judge William Martinez has determined that the City of Denver can be put on trial for allegedly fostering a culture that tolerates police brutality and abuse. Reaction from an attorney representing the four women who were roughed up, the judge's order and lots of previous coverage is on view below.
Big photos below.
As is detailed in the original lawsuit, also included here as part of our previous reporting, Kelly Boren, Sharelle Thomas, Ana Ortega and Kristal Carrillo were at the restaurant in 2009 when they say Denver police officers Ricky Nixon and Kevin 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.
Devine and Nixon were fired in 2011 for their actions at the Diner, only to be reinstated and received permission to hit the streets again by the Denver Civil Service Commission.
You'll recall that Nixon was also involved in the bloody beating of college student Alex Landau, which resulted in a $795,000 settlement. Not that the Landau case has concluded: It's currently the subject of a federal inquiry.
Alex Landau after the police beating for which he received a $795,000 settlement.
Attorney Siddhartha Rathod, attorney for the women suing over the Denver Diner matter, was livid after Nixon and Devine were given the go-ahead to begin patrolling again, providing us with a statement that read, "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."
These assertions are at the heart of the lawsuit naming the City of Denver, as well as Nixon and Devine, and it was bolstered by eight years of brutality complaints ordered released by Judge John Kane as part of a separate excessive-force accusation involving James Moore, who nearly died after allegedly being punched, kicked and sapped by officers.
This material obviously had an impact on Judge Martinez. He didn't lower every possible boom; as noted by the Denver Post, he'd previously tossed out several claims, including ones related to racial discrimination, destruction of evidence, malicious prosecution and First Amendment retaliation. But in the end, Rathod maintains via e-mail, "Judge Martinez ruled that the four women assaulted in front of the Denver Diner have demonstrated that DPD has systemically and historically ingrained patterns of unchecked civil rights violations."
Continue for more about the Denver Diner ruling, plus photos, videos and more.