Photos: Ten notable Denver police shootings
News that no charges would be made against the three police officers who nearly beat Alex Landau to death in 2009 has brought renewed scrutiny to the Denver Police Department, especially when it comes to the question of race. Jared Jacang Maher explored these questions in his 2008 feature "Target Practice: Racism and Police Shootings Are No Game," for which he assembled a slide show spotlighting ten notable Denver police shootings. See the complete list below, featuring case-related photos and text by Maher.
Big photos below.
Roberto Gonzalez, May 6, 2006
In 2006, during the unofficial Cinco De Mayo procession on Federal Boulevard, officers spotted a stolen Jeep Cherokee. Several police cars began to pursue the vehicle, which had turned eastbound on West 10th Avenue at a high rate of speed toward the Sun Valley Neighborhood. The Jeep stopped at Clay Way and was quickly surrounded by law enforcement vehicles. One of the Jeep's three occupants, later identified as 34-year-old Roberto Gonzales, jumped out and walked toward an acquaintance on the street. Gonzales attempted to get the acquaintance to take possession of a handgun he was holding in his left hand. But the acquaintance refused as police fanned out around Gonzales with their weapons drawn. Officers repeatedly ordered Gonzales to drop the weapon. Gonzales instead moved toward Sergeant Rick Stern and was shot numerous times by three officers, and died. The gun was later determined to be a very real-looking replica, pictured here.
Paul Childs, July 4, 2003
Three Denver officers arrived to a house at 5550 East Thrill Place in response to a 911 call from a teenage girl who said that her brother was threatening their mother with a kitchen knife. Paul Childs, 15, was developmentally disabled and had assaulted his mother on previous occasions. The officers approached the residence as the sister and mother exited from the front door and were told that Childs was still inside with the knife. As Officer James Turney stepped onto the porch and opened the screen door, he observed Childs walking toward them through the living room with the thirteen-inch knife, pictured here. After the youth ignored orders to drop the weapon, Turney shot Childs four times, killing him. Activists in the African American community said the officer could have used a less deadly option, such as a Taser. But the District Attorney's office declined to press charges against Turney -- although he was suspended for 10 months without pay by Manager of Safety Al LaCabe for moving into the situation too quickly. In 2004, the city reached a $1.3 million settlement with the Childs family.
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