Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cops beat innocent bystander; official refuses to fire them

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Police brutality: “I’m gonna kick your ass | And get away with it”
Police brutality
I’m gonna kick your ass | And get away with it
[source: Philly's Keystone Kop Follies

Here’s another one from the files of police immunity to the very law they’re supposed to enforce. Last April, Denver, Colorado police were arresting a man who’d gotten thrown out of a nightclub when they turned on his friend, Michael DeHerrera, who was making a frantic cellphone call to his father. Officer Devin Sparks then decided to throw DeHerrera to the ground and proceeded to hit him numerous times with a “sap” (a piece of metal wrapped in a cloth) before arresting him. Both officers then wrote in their reports that DeHerrera had tried to attack them and that they were only acting in self-defense.

Unfortunately for them, though, the whole scene had been caught on video from a nearby surveillance camera and the footage made it crystal clear that DeHerrera was innocent of the charges against him. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is now calling on the FBI to conduct an official review of the case and even the officers’ own bosses went on record stating that they should be fired for police brutality.

So, naturally, Denver Manager of Public Safety Ron Perea, the guy in charge of applying such discipline, has decided against these recommendations and refused to fire the officers, instead choosing to suspend them for a couple of days.

"I did not find excessive force," Parea told 9Wants to Know. "In looking at the totality of the situation of the officer being assaulted and their attempts to get the individuals to comply, get them handcuffed and arrested, I felt the force was not excessive."

Perea suspended Officer Randy Murr for three days without pay for writing inaccurate reports, and Sparks was docked 24 hours pay.

Perea says the officers did not lie on their reports.

"It's difficult for an officer to write a report afterwards when he doesn't have the availability of video. It will look different," he said.

Nothing but the usual ass-covering we’ve come to expect. First, the video footage made it quite clear that DeHerrera never went after any of the officers; he was simply calling his father for advice when he was suddenly assaulted by Sparks. And I don’t think it’s possible to reasonably criticize him if he had tried to defend himself once he was on the ground with the badge-adorned thug on top of him, beating the creaming out of him. And second, I call “bullshit” on his defense of the officers’ falsified reports. It’s not difficult: You write what you did in response to what happened. End of story. If you somehow omit the fact that you beat a guy to a pulp on the ground for talking on his cellphone, then that is not a case of faulty memory. It’s a case of flat-out lying.

Here’s the video of the news report, including the security footage showing the beating, below the fold:

But, hey, glad to know the good officers Randy Murr and Devin Sparks will be back on patrol in no time. Streets just couldn’t be as safe without ’em.

(via @todayspolitics)