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This strong, unified front was a marked contrast to the way the DeHerrera incident had been handled. "All you can do is continue on the right track," explains Rosenthal, adding that in L.A., he'd seen for himself the damage that could be done when the process went off the rails. "Over time, as people understand that you have processes in place to make sure business is being taken care of, whatever faith that has been lost will be restored. But it takes time."

Restoring that faith still appears to be a work in progress. Since the city released the jailhouse-death decision last week, Booker's family and the ACLU of Colorado have called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate Denver law enforcement. And a few hours after the announcement, a group of anti-cop protesters converged in front of the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center. In the Justice Center plaza, festooned with fliers lamenting Booker's death and criticizing the police, thirty or so activists hollered, "Watch out for the Denver police! Cops killed somebody in this building!" and played squealing-pig noises over a megaphone.

When none of the news reporters stationed nearby to report on the Booker decision took much notice, the protesters repositioned themselves on the sidewalks along Colfax Avenue – where they attracted more interest. As they chanted, "No justice! No peace! No violence in our streets!," driver after driver honked in approval.

******

Members of the DPD's rank and file may not be the only ones to lose their jobs over the police-brutality scandal. Both Romer and Hancock have suggested that if elected mayor, they would replace Chief Whitman. (Romer also suggested he'd ax the Manager of Safety position altogether, only to reverse that last week.) And Rosenthal's six-employee office, with an annual budget of $636,000 in 2010 ($132,000 of that for Rosenthal), is coming under scrutiny, too.

"I think it's a good time to step back and assess whether or not [the Independent Monitor] has been effective," says Hancock. "It's one of the first things I am going to do once I'm elected."

After his Manager of Safety flip-flop, Romer is more circumspect. "Chris supports a swift and fair discipline process that includes the Independent Monitor to ensure transparency for our communities, clarity for our officers and timeliness for all," says Laura Chapin, Romer's communications director. "And Chris will make sure the Independent Monitor has the resources to properly oversee discipline cases."

But even before the new mayor is sworn in, the Denver Auditor's Office will release the audit of the Office of the Independent Monitor and the police-oversight system that it began last September. "We've had this audit on our audit plan for a few years," says Clay Vigoda, director of government and community affairs at the auditor's office. "We pushed it up a little bit quicker, mostly because of all the things that started to hit last summer. We started to wonder if what we were experiencing was a perfect storm of a number of unique incidents, or if there was something systemic the city better be concerned about."

And there might be another reason the auditor's office fast-tracked the audit. "We requested that they audit him," says Nick Rogers, president of the Denver Police Protective Association. "We definitely contacted the auditor's office and said, 'You need to look at this position.'" Rogers believes that Rosenthal is partly responsible for the controversy that's erupted over the past year. He says there's more to the DeHerrera case than what appears on the HALO video, information that justifies the officers' actions that night. And he insists that Rosenthal knows it — but as soon as the Independent Monitor saw the way the political wind was blowing, he spoke out on Good Morning America and helped make the case national news. "I think he's trying to solidify his position in the city of Denver," Rogers says. "I think he's turned up the heat in the past year knowing that a new mayor would get rid of him. I think he's trying to make himself appear indispensable to the citizens of Denver."

Rosenthal "was always looking for his Rampart here," Rogers continues. "He could never find his Rampart until the HALO camera footage." And because of the way Rosenthal handled such incidents, the streets are less safe than they used to be, he insists: "If discipline is unfair and unwarranted — and that's the belief now within the rank and file in the Denver Police Department — that tells the officers who patrol Denver that every time they contact someone, they have the potential to lose their job, no matter the facts, if it becomes a media-driven issue. That translates into less citizen contacts, which translate into less criminal apprehensions and contact, and that is going to drive the crime rate up. It makes for the citizens of Denver to live in a worse environment."

The month after the DeHerrera case made national news, Denver police reported that officer-initiated investigations had dropped by nearly 25 percent from the year before.

Rosenthal disputes Rogers's arguments. "I stand by my reports, and I think any reasonable person reading my reports would agree I have provided fair and objective oversight and that I continue to do so," he says. If anything, Rosenthal suggests, it's the police union that's changed its course since last summer: "The union's response has been baffling. They have just been doing an unrelenting attack on my office ever since."

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8 comments
KST
KST

Rosenthal says Denver has a good police department but all he talks about in interviews isa few cases that have been sensationalized. Why doesn't he discuss the statistics from his Annual Report 2010? In the report he says, "It is important to note that only a small proportion of citizen-police contacts in 2010 resulted in a citizen complaint. For example, Denver Police officers responded to 465,511 calls for service in 2010. In the same time period, the DPD received 601 citizen complaints against its officers, which amounts to a conservative estimate of roughly one complaint for ever 775 calls for service (or .013%)"

He goes on to say, "Only a relatively small proportion of DPD officers had one complaint sustained in 2010 (5.3%) and no officers had more than two complaints sustained in one year."

This information is on the OIM website but it is not well publisized. If Rosenthal really wantstransparancy and believes DPD is a good department why doesn't he use these statitistics in his interview and tell people to read the entrie report on the OIM website?

KST

Ray Denonville
Ray Denonville

The Denver Police Union P.P.A. wants Rosenthal fired. A Denver Copwatch member I spoke with wants Rosenthal fired; something about L.A.P.D. If the P.P.A. and Denver Copwatch both want Rosenthal fired he must be doing something right.

Garygoode
Garygoode

As an employee of several large industries, all of which were unionized, an oversite department is always needed. To those that are caught, they hate the system, those who remain unscathed, no issues.

Videos are everywhere in our society now; most of the complaints about the Denver Police beating the citizens have been followed with some "interesting" video evidence. Generally, when there is no video, the case goes away without a conviction or reprimand.

Times have changed, now the police unions are fighting the system by confronting only the enforcers, not the videos, not the evidence, nor the complaints.

Remember the banking meltdown of 2008? The banking and financial enforcement agency went for years trying to regulate themselves only to become the advocates of a bad system.

Let the unions run the show and we all will pay.

Grab your camera and hit the streets.

Darthurwhittle
Darthurwhittle

Rosenthal keeping an eye on Denver cops----but not too close------------------

AnyBodyButObama 2012
AnyBodyButObama 2012

Denver "Doesn't have a bad Police Department..."? This is who saying this? I'm sure the rash of bad cops over the last few years is just an "Accident"! And those are only the ones that got caught, what is the percentage that hasn't?

Kenneth Westervelt
Kenneth Westervelt

West Denver Copwatch has no love for the man. I don't really have a dog in the fight, as I've never had problems like this when I ran into police in the past.

Fds3
Fds3

It is real easy to blame the police and the sherriff's for all the problems but Mr Rosenthal you couldn't do there job and you have no clue of the type of people they deal with. I think that you should think about this thought.

Boyhood
Boyhood

Rosenthal needs to go trust me....

 
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