Alex Landau beating: Advocate backs police monitor's call for more investigation

Categories: News

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More photos below.
Friday afternoon, the office of Denver Manager of Safety Alex Martinez announced that there would be no charges against the three Denver police officers who nearly beat college student Alex Landau to death in 2009.

In Martinez's mind, the case should be over at this point. But Independent Monitor Nicholas Mitchell thinks an important aspect of it still calls for investigation -- and one of Landau's main advocates agrees.

As we note in our original post, on view below in its entirety, Landau and passenger Addison Hunold were pulled over in January 2009, allegedly over an illegal left turn.

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Alex Landau after being beaten by police officers.
Afterward, officers Ricky Nixon, Randy Murr and Tiffany Middleton found marijuana and asked if they could search the vehicle's trunk. Landau responded by asking if they had a warrant -- after which the situation spun out of control. Landau was brutally beaten, supposedly because he'd gone for an officer's gun. Afterward, he remembers one officer asking, "Where's that warrant now, you fucking nigger?"

Landau later filed a lawsuit and received a $795,000 settlement from the City of Denver. But the officers weren't punished for their actions after either a federal civil-rights inquiry or investigations by assorted Denver entities. On Friday, Martinez's office released a statement that reads in part, "The Manager of Safety determines there is insufficient evidence to sustain any allegations of inappropriate force, racial slurs or deceptive conduct by Officers Ricky Nixon, Randy Murr and Tiffany Middleton for the incident with Mr. Alexander Landau. Other than reprimands by the Chief of Police for failure to make complete reports, no disciplinary action is taken against any of the involved officers."

Hours after most of the stories about the decision had already been put to bed, Independent Monitor Mitchell, who was chosen last summer to succeed Richard Rosenthal in the post, released a statement of his own. In it, he agreed with the overall decision not to pursue charges against the officers, but suggested that another matter deserved closer scrutiny.

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Nicholas Mitchell.
The statement reads:
The Manager of Safety announced that the officers involved in the Alex Landau matter will not face discipline more serious than a reprimand. Although I am troubled by several inconsistencies in officer statements, I agree that the evidence creates significant ambiguity about what occurred during this incident. There is insufficient proof to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the force used was appropriate or not.

However, I believe that there are issues in this case that have yet to be addressed. Fundamental to Mr. Landau's complaint is his allegation, made years ago, that an investigator in Internal Affairs sought to intimidate and dissuade him from pursuing his complaint. Mr. Landau alleged that Internal Affairs suggested that he was bringing false charges, summarily dismissed his allegations of racial slurs, accused him of playing the "race card," and otherwise conveyed that the incident would not be fairly investigated. I previously recommended that the Manager take action to investigate and address this allegedly biased complaint intake interview. I was disappointed to hear the Manager, in his press conference today, indicate that today's decision marks the end of the administrative investigations and employment actions related to Mr. Landau. I do not believe that Mr. Landau's complaint will be fully addressed until the alleged bias in the Internal Affairs intake interview has been investigated and resolved.

We asked Mu Son Chi, racial justice and civil rights program director for the Colorado Progressive Coalition, for his take on Mitchell's views and the case as a whole. Here's what he had to say.

Continue for more about the Alex Landau case, including photos and video.

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Beat a cop 1/10 of what was done to this poor man and we are seeing a 20 (+) yr prison sentence !



I have been telling family and friends for years that the DANGER from calling these pigs severely outweighs the SLIM possibility you might get some relief....Especially with kids in the house.....I tell them this because cops are psychopaths.....Why call a psycho to your home?

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Civilians with zero police affiliation should be determining the punishment. NOT THE COPS. They've proven incompetent repeatedly and cost everyone money when these lawsuits come up. $800k plus internal costs to investigate and defend this case alone. Why settle if there was no wrongdoing? I wonder if these cops feel like they have a target on their chests now? Everyone knows their names, only a matter of time til they try it with the wrong person. Women and generally civil people are easy targets, Id like to see them try this with some real gangbangers who dont respect a badge on their own turf. Might hear some good news ;)

Robert Barnhart
Robert Barnhart

Look's like Denver has a more serious problem than what is told to the public.


Imagine if someone was beaten as badly as Landau by a civilian. Do you think prosecutors would have any questions about whether charges should be filed. 

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