Rosenthal's biggest fear is that the spot could go to someone with no oversight experience. Rosenthal was disappointed that after Ruhlin rejected the offer, Hancock did not turn to either of the other finalists, both of whom have extensive oversight experience. "The manager is obviously a civilian, but the successes of the department are his successes and the failures are his failures," Rosenthal says. "The independence of the office utterly requires someone who knows what they're doing and can bring professionalism to that position and a scrutiny of public comments and comments from the manager of safety. You can't have independence without someone who can think independently. You might as well make the monitor a deputy manager of safety."

In his final report as the independent monitor, Rosenthal noted a need for strict separation of the office and the DPD. "Bias on the part of the Internal Affairs Bureau investigators and supervisors has been documented in many cases over the past year," he wrote in January. "It is the opinion of the Monitor that these cases evidence substantial problems in the way the Denver Police Department is currently policing itself. The Manager of Safety and the new Chief of Police must change the current culture in Internal Affairs to ensure unbiased, thorough and complete investigations and the appropriate documentation of such investigations."

For his part, Martinez says he's remaining neutral about any possible changes to the Office of the Independent Monitor, including removing smaller cases from its purview. "In my view, a good monitor probably won't go there anyway, so why does it matter?" he asks. "I think we could include that if we're trying to improve the ordinance, but if people are upset about it, it's not worth it." The one change he requests is the opportunity to add his own response to the monitor's reports before they are published: He'd like to give the public the chance to digest both voices at once, he explains. But the change isn't critical, he says. "Just some manners, really," he jokes. "That's all I want."

Hancock had appointed Holland to the committee considering potential changes to the monitor's office — but the attorney quit the committee last month, after it became clear that it wouldn't institute real structural reform, he says. "I think Denver has lived through an unbelievable scandal," says Holland. "Now we have a public that no longer trusts our police department."

Holland calls the independent monitor's office as it stands an "impotent," "insufficient" structure that does not have the power to influence the city's police oversight system in any significant way. As it is, officer-misconduct investigations are routed through the DPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, then funneled through layers of review by the DPD and the Office of the Manager of Safety — parties that have a stake in the outcome, he points out, and cannot be overruled by the independent monitor. Instead, he's urging the city to adopt the "Taj Mahal of due process": a three-panel civilian review board comprising lawyers or judges who would have the power to both make disciplinary recommendations and enforce the punishments that come with them. The American Civil Liberties Union has championed similar models in Florida and Missouri, among other states.

"I can't think of a better analogy for Denver's model than the fox guarding the henhouse," Holland says. "The city needs to think about making a process we can believe in, because the one we've got now is bad for the chickens."

**********

After Alex Landau finishes his story — or at least reaches its still-inconclusive end — others at the training session share theirs. A few chairs to his left sits Shawn Johnson, who was beaten by police officers along with partner Michael DeHerrera in LoDo in April 2009.

One woman is here for her son, who woke up from a coma in the hospital days after he was arrested in Denver; he has no idea how he got there. His mother was ten years old when she saw Martin Luther King Jr. give a speech in Birmingham, her childhood home. "I saw the dogs, the demonstrations, the church on fire," she says. "The only thing that has changed is our age. My goal is to keep up the fight."

Landau's session lasts almost three hours, during which he fills page after page of oversized white paper with his audience's thoughts and his own messy handwriting. As the participants speak, he scribbles down their feedback with a black Sharpie, nodding his head or asking for clarification. "But what do you mean when you say police can lie?" he asks a Park Hill neighbor. "And how do we deal with that? Not every officer is the same."

When a page is full, he rips it off the oversized notepad and tapes it to the back wall. On one page, he reminds his audience of the three potential stages of police interaction: "conversation, detainment, arrest." He jots down their lists of perceived police transgressions, essentially the all-caps message "COPS CAN LIE," followed by three bullet points: "cover tracks," "crime pays," "entrapment" — to which he adds "Be respectful." On a fifth page, he writes the number for the CPC's racial-profiling hotline.

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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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