Denver Diner case: Judge rules City of Denver can be put on trial for police brutality
In this case, Officers Nixon and Devine both testified that the degree of force used in this incident was in accordance with their training. Their supervisor also testified that the officers acted appropriately and within their training. Nixon testified that the Chief (of Denver Police) told him that he did nothing wrong in this case but that it 'looked bad on video.' Additionally, Denver's former safety manager, Charlie Garcia, testified that he believed Denver's police officers had used 'heavy-handed tactics' since 1993 and that these tactics were a result of the City's training policy. This evidence could permit a reasonable juror to find that Denver's training program failed to appropriately teach its officers how to conduct themselves when stopping an altercation and/or managing a crowd.Three more damning excerpts:
Denver's former independent monitor, Richard Rosenthal, testified that Denver had a 'systemic problem' of officers not being held accountable for their uses of force. Rosenthal recounted 'a number of cases' that gave him 'great concern' about whether officers were properly being held accountable for their actions. The Court finds that this evidence is sufficient to allow a reasonable juror to find that Denver's failure to adequately investigate citizen's excessive force complaints and to discipline officers implicated therein was so widespread as to constitute a custom....In Rathod's opinion, "this case is tremendously important because for nearly a decade, the customs and practices of the Denver Police Department have made it virtually impossible to effectively discipline violent and dishonest officers."
In this case, a number of officers observed the use of force by Nixon and Devine but none completed reports on such force or came forward with information regarding the incident until they were questioned by IAB during its investigation. Based on this and other evidence in the record, a reasonable juror could find that Denver has a custom of tacitly approving of, or at the very least of acquiescing to, a pattern of conduct within the Department whereby police officers routinely fail to report either their own or other officer's uses of force....
The Court notes that there is evidence in the record to support municipal liability for Plaintiffs Ortega, Boren, and Thomas's false arrest/unlawful seizure claims. (Former Manger of Safety Charles) Garcia testified that Denver has an unwritten policy of bringing charges against any individual against whom any force is used. Garcia testified that this officers were trained to bring charges such as resisting arrest or interference to 'cover' for the use of force....
Here's Martinez's order, followed by our previous coverage, including the lawsuit, video and numerous photos from the incident itself.
Continue to learn more about the Denver Diner incident, including photos and the complete lawsuit.