Aug 16, 2010 7:27 PM by Greg Boyce

Independent Denver Monitor says cops should be dismissed

An independent monitor in Denver, charged with reviewing investigations of police and sheriff's personnel strongly disagrees with findings by the Denver Police Department related to the arrest of a young Pueblo man after he and a friend were kicked out of a LoDo bar last year.

The arrest of Shawn Johnson and Michael DeHerrera were caught on a government surveillance camera.  While Johnson was being arrested, DeHerrera was talking to his father, a Pueblo County Sheriff's Deputy, on his cell phone.

The video shows one of the officers taking DeHerrera to the ground in a violent manner, injuring DeHerrera's face.  Charges against DeHerrera were later dismissed.

The officers were later disciplined for writing false reports; one took a three-day suspension, the other lost three days of vacation pay.  But the monitor, Richard Rosenthal, believes they should have been terminated for "serious breaches of policy and ethics."

Reports of the incident were filed by both officers, who were not identified, and each paint a picture of a violent DeHerrera attempting to strike one of the officers.  But the video clearly shows there was no aggressive movement by DeHerrera at anytime.

The Chief of Police did not find the officers had used inappropriate force or acted in a deceptive manner.

The conclusion on the report follows:

"The Monitor hopes that this case is an aberration and that, in the future, when provided with compelling evidence of lying, the Department will ensure that its officers are held accountable.  To this end, the Monitor's Office offers this report to the elected and appointed officials of the City of Denver and its community in support of its mission towards transparency and to explain why we believe the Department's decision in this case was not reasonable."

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