Top Latest Word posts of 2013, No. 4: Alex Landau reacts when beating cops aren't charged
Editor's note: We're counting down the most popular Latest Word posts of 2013. This one came in at No. 4. Read it as originally published.
Big photos below.
April 11, 2013: Last week, 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.
Earlier this week, we spoke with Landau's lawyer, who was troubled by evidence he fears Martinez ignored.
Today, we hear directly from Landau, who was far from happy about the decision -- but he remains committed to his personal mission.
In January 2009, as we've reported, Landau, then nineteen, and passenger Addison Hunold were pulled over in January 2009, allegedly over an illegal left turn.
Officers Ricky Nixon, Randy Murr and Tiffany Middleton subsequently 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 Middleton'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. Last 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."
A photo of Landau after the 2009 incident.
"It raises a bunch of emotions," he concedes. "I feel like it's obvious that the Manager of Safety and people like [Denver mayor] Michael Hancock, who have continually said they want an honest police force and want to build solidarity between police and the community, have proven they don't really have the best interests of people in mind."
That it's taken more than four years to get to this point only adds to Landau's frustration. According to him, Denver Police Chief Robert White told him not long ago that "time was no longer a factor" in the investigation. "And when people tell me things like that, how am I supposed to feel as a victim?"
He had the same reaction to a suggestion last year that he take part in a reenactment of the incident -- an offer he declined. "I look at that and think, 'Don't you believe my word? Don't you believe the photos?' You look at an officer like Randy Murr, who was terminated for what he did to Michael DeHerrera. Shouldn't there be further investigation of him, just because he was involved in both of these things? Shouldn't they want him off the force?"
Perhaps some do. But while Murr was sacked two years ago for his role in the DeHerrera matter, which also took place in 2009, a few months after Landau was attacked, he was later reinstated.
Continue for more of our interview with Alex Landau.