Officers Ricky Nixon, who'd originally pulled Landau over, and Kevin Devine were involved in another controversial 2009 incident, in which they beat and maced a group of women on camera outside the Denver Diner. Originally fired by Garcia, they, too, appealed, and are now back on the force — at least until a Civil Service Commission panel can hear an appeal of that firing. A clerical error was responsible for this snafu: City lawyers missed their deadline to ask for a delay in reinstatement by four days, allowing Nixon and Devine to return to the force by default.

During the initial investigation of that incident, Mary Beth Klee, now head of Internal Affairs, and other DPD supervisors testified that the officers involved had acted within their job descriptions; that inspired the CPC to raise concerns about Klee's promotion. "I think the public should understand that some of these things are not clear outcomes," Martinez says. "Simply because two parties do not agree does not mean either one is being unreasonable or either one is being unbiased."

And other controversial cases have reached some kind of closure. In July 2011, 29-year-old Alonzo Ashley died during an incident at the Denver Zoo when he allegedly attacked a zoo guard. The eight officers involved in Ashley's case will not face any charges; in January, Martinez's office released its decision not to discipline those present that night.

Alex Landau was beaten by Denver cops in 2009.
Alex Landau was beaten by Denver cops in 2009.
Chief of Police Robert White has launched many changes.
Brandon Marshall
Chief of Police Robert White has launched many changes.

Also in July 2011, inmate Marvin Booker died in jail after five sheriff's deputies subdued him. Camera footage captured the incident and made its rounds on the Internet, showing Booker waiting to be booked into the system and then becoming embroiled in a physical struggle with the deputies. Booker was warned to stop struggling or risk being tased — and the deputies made good on the threat, also using a carotid hold on Booker. Later, inside his cell, Booker could not be resuscitated by medical experts. The manager of safety declined to terminate any of the deputies, but the sheriff's department has stopped using the carotid hold.

And back in 2003, DPD officer James Turney shot fifteen-year-old Paul Childs four times and killed him. According to accounts of the incident, Childs, who was developmentally disabled, held a sizable knife. Turney earned a ten-month suspension based on alleged procedural errors in his actions. The incident also inspired John Hickenlooper, just elected mayor of Denver, to establish the Office of the Independent Monitor.

**********

Denver is still searching for a permanent replacement for Richard Rosenthal, the city's first independent monitor, who resigned from the post he'd held for almost seven years in late December to take a job in Vancouver. "Walking into that office every day is like walking into the eye of a storm," says Rosenthal. "And that never changes."

Facing a crisis of confidence in the DPD, in 2005 Hickenlooper created the Office of the Independent Monitor, which was approved by city ordinance. The office's primary function is to serve as a civilian watchdog, providing oversight by reviewing and analyzing all investigations of officer misconduct within the DPD and the Denver Sheriff's Department, then submitting a disciplinary recommendation to the Office of the Manager of Safety once the review is complete. In 2011, the Office of the Independent Monitor reviewed 941 cases. Landau's was not one of them.

Mayor Hancock has vowed to keep the independent monitor position. After an audit last year found certain passages in the ordinance establishing the office to be vague and "problematic," Hancock convened a committee to review the ordinance and consider making changes in the office — even as the city searched for someone to fill it. Potential fixes could range from establishing term limits to disassociating the monitor from low-level cases, a move that Rosenthal sees as a grave mistake. Limiting the ability of the monitor to exercise discretion would be a huge step backward, he says, one that would compromise the "independent" part of the role.

"There has been a tradition in Denver of Internal Affairs not identifying when officers lied," Rosenthal says, calling the proposal to pull out low-level cases "a way to avoid oversight." So-called small issues that aren't resolved often become big issues, he explains, and many apparently minor investigations he encountered during his days in Denver grew bigger than he expected. "There were cases where I had to stop a case and send it back to the chief because they were ignoring big issues. It's essential to the structure of oversight enforcement in Denver that the independent monitor be allowed to choose which cases enter that office."

After Rosenthal announced his resignation, Hancock organized a committee to search for his successor; by April, that committee had reviewed the 110-member pool of applicants and, after interviewing nine candidates, settled on three finalists. All three came to Denver to participate in community forums, and Hancock offered the job to Julie Ruhlin. But she turned it down, opting instead to remain in her current job in Los Angeles County.

So in June, the nomination committee went back to square one, reopening the application process to consider additional candidates. This week, the committee hopes to send a second round of finalists to Hancock.

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21 comments
Maji
Maji

To Jamier247 -   You assume they had weed in the trunk.  Alex's friend was only freaking because the search was escalating and he knew it could get bad.  Alex is now working with victims, and educating normal citizens on ways to avoid police conflicts.  He's a kind, smart, thoughtful young man, and your comments are based on ignorance and racism.  What an insult you are.

diamondgirlmya
diamondgirlmya

Police act like a gang and they are supposed to protect and serve ....not torture people. and that officer should no longer be working for the Department ever again!

Guest
Guest

It doesn't matter what was or wasn't in the trunk. He consented to a search of the cab, which he did not have to do, but asked for a warrant to search the trunk, they asked if the officer had a warrant. Rather than either, A) Search it anyway and contest in court whether US V Ross applied in this case, they chose to beat the living hell out of Landau. This is a clear case of police brutality. He has been cleared of all charges, so obviously the evidence that he 'went for the officer's gun' wasn't there. It is never okay for police officers to beat civilians, and since most of them are recorded while on duty, why weren't they able to provide any evidence of Landau's supposed behavior. Unfortunately, idiotic reasoning is used which essentially allows the police to use those recordings if they support the police's point of view, but civilians are not allowed to see said same tapes if they show evidence of an officer breaking the law. Double standard much?

Who Cares
Who Cares

Reform the worst criminal gang known as DPD? Not going to happen. Westword should take a day and photograph the eyes of DPD street thugs. They are totally gone. The number one criminal gang in Denver is DPD. Just look at them. Frothing at the wastoids with far gone eyes. Most look like they are drugged out.

guest
guest

They do get up early to beat the crowds

Lousligo39
Lousligo39

lots of liberal jews in denver i take it.bet none of them ever did a days worl except to rabble rouse the swatzters.

Jamier247
Jamier247

I'm right there with you. It's funny how the media who's bias in their coverage does report the fact that law abiding citizens don't drive around with a trunk full of drugs. And for those who think its no big deal apparently you have no idea of what's happening in our streets. Are there cops who shouldn't be on the streets, yes but there are more good cops doing a job of risking their lives for our protection that us everyday Joe citizens wouldnt do...so for all you people that say fuck the police blah blah blah are you going to patrol our streets, get the bad guys no matter what the cost (maybe your lives) go after the gang members, stop the robbers??? No your not.

Jamier247
Jamier247

Landau is made out to be a hero of some kind for citizens rights, he's a fucking drug dealer plan and simple. Your going to sit there and tell me two guys with a trunk full of weed is just some poor innocent guy....brother please! He was a low life who was doing illegal shit, did he deserve to get the shit kicked out of him....hummm I don't know cause we weren't there. But if he was going for an officers gun (which happens more often than you'd believe) do you all seriously believe that he and his buddy with a car full of weed intended to comply with officers and didnt struggle? We only have his word for it that he did nothing, so he recalled it. But let me reflect on cases like his where these guys say they did nothing

Mouthbomb
Mouthbomb

fuck denver police, savage fucking swine, burn them all alive!

Parker
Parker

Not saying beating him was right.....but now a sizable amount of money, which comes from our taxes, went to a law breaking, drug using individual.....Nice job! I'm sure he is using some of that 800K to buy more weed.....isn't it great to live in America where you can get ahead by being a degenerate

Mikelblk
Mikelblk

I'm glad to see that someone is actually policing the police. I to have had dealings with the DPD. Scary stuff!!

sarahadam889
sarahadam889

Foxes and henhouses, deck chairs and the Titanic - Chief White's efforts. Farts in a hurricane - Mayor Hancock's leadership.DISCOVER THE TRUTH BEHIND... READ THIS ARTICLE  ......=> FinancialsReports.blogspot.com

Bob Smith
Bob Smith

Foxes and henhouses, deck chairs and the Titanic - Chief White's efforts. Farts in a hurricane - Mayor Hancock's leadership.

Brian Frederick
Brian Frederick

Because that's going to work, "Guest." Listen, people can have their "fuck the police" rallies all they want - but fact of the matter is, they don't and won't work. It's not the complaints that weed out the bad apples, clearly, because what happens? They get their jobs back, get a job in another town or just leave and get paid for it. All I'm saying is that there's going to be negative connotations to all this dissent of authority. The "weeding out" needs to happen on a personal level. Personal responsibility is going to be the only thing that saves us as a society - and - unfortunately it's not something we teach well to our kids in this country. So, yes, you're right. We all need to Man The Fuck Up.

Guest
Guest

So, how does this weeding out take place? Oh yeah, by people making complaints about said bad apples. Now, go tell your buddy's in blue to MAN THE FUCK UP!

BAFrederick
BAFrederick

Right - it's not like bad behavior in any authoritarian position is anything new. The media is acting like this is something that's just come out of nowhere - rather than looking at the obvious - that it's just easier to keep track of and prosecute in present day. Hearing that DPD is the devil of all police systems is laughable every time I hear it. Chicago and Los Angeles, to name a few, have been dealing with things like this for years. In fact, the reason why they don't have as many complaints is because socially it's just become accepted or civilians have learned that when you get arrested, you just buckle down and take it because there's nothing that can be done at the point of steel to skin. In no way am I condoning this type of behavior, but the unfortunate effect of filing so many complaints is that the good police are now scared to do their job. In talking with a few of my acquaintances who are in the force (no, you can't have their names) they've told me things like "cars will stall when being called to a scene because they don't want to be the first ones there" or "they won't even bother with the issue because of fear of doing their job properly that would be misconstrued." It's too bad we're scaring some of the good cops out of doing the right (and safe) thing for fear of being fired or suspended. Like I said, the behavior is not condoned, but another side needs to be told as well. The bad apples eventually get thrown away, not sold in a store - they'll get weeded out eventually.

diamondgirlmya
diamondgirlmya

your dumb and dont know what you are talking about!

Jamier247
Jamier247

Just like that gang member who shot a cop in Greely, media reported what a nice kid he was per is mother ( sure he was doing something illegal),when the officer stopped him but his mother was interviewed and said he son was innocent not a gang member and than tried to sue the county for $$$$ . Come to find out he was a total low life who was involved in gangs, robbery and other criminal behavior. Funny than we find out this guy has a criminal history. You can doing something illegal, resist arrest, fight a cop, and sue the city and be called a victim.

Mouthbomb
Mouthbomb

^^^conservative, totalitarian prick

 
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