Alex Landau beating: Advocate backs police monitor's call for more investigation
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.
More photos below.
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.
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?"
Alex Landau after being beaten by police officers.
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.
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.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.
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.
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