Alex Landau on firing of cop who beat him, search for new Manager of Safety
At today's 10:30 a.m. meeting of Denver's Citizen Oversight Board, a number of community activists plan to advocate for a voice in the search for a new Manager of Safety -- among them the Colorado Progressive Coalition's Alex Landau, who was nearly beaten to death by police officers in 2009.
More photos below.
Below, Landau talks about the firing of Ricky Nixon, one of the cops in that case, as well as Nixon's civil rights lawsuit against the city and qualities he'd like to see in the next Manager of Safety.
As we've reported, Nixon wasn't fired for the incident involving Landau. Indeed, no officers have been charged with a crime in that case, although the Denver City Council paid $795,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Landau. Rather, Nixon and Officer Kevin Devine, who wasn't involved in the Landau matter, were terminated for their actions in another 2009 controversy, involving four women who were roughed up at the Denver Diner.
City Council opened up its coffers for the Denver Diner victims, too: That settlement amount was approximately $360,000.
Alex Landau after his encounter with Denver police.
In April, Landau was highly critical of the city, and outgoing Manager of Safety Alex Martinez, for not criminally charging Nixon and the other cops involved in the attack on him. But even though Nixon's dismissal wasn't technically related to his case, he says, "it's a good thing when a violent officer is removed from the streets for any reason."
At the same time, however, he's concerned about reports that Nixon and Devine plan to appeal their firing. "Even after a lengthy investigation, I'm afraid we're still seeing this continuous appeal process," which caused the investigation into his beating and the Denver Diner case to stretch out over four years or so.
Landau also finds it hard to process Nixon's lawsuit against the City and County of Denver; the officer contends that his civil rights were violated by being forced to work on the Denver Police Department's radar unit, and give up his uniform and gun, even after being cleared of wrongdoing.
"I went through a whole lot of emotions when I first heard, especially after my near-death interaction at the hands of Officer Ricky Nixon," he says. "To see the way the high-profile Denver Diner case unfolded was incredible to say the least. But if we have to have our day in court, we will have our day in court -- and I'm sure there will be a whole list of victims and victims' families who would have things to say in regard to Ricky Nixon's policing."
Likewise, he's got plenty of opinions about Manager of Safety Martinez, who's agreed to become general counsel for Denver Public Schools. And those views are mixed.
Continue for more of our interview with Alex Landau and the search for a new Manager of Safety.