Alex Landau case: No charges against three Denver cops in his brutal beating

Update below: In February, the Justice Department decided not to charge the officers who beat Alex Landau to a pulp with federal civil rights violations. Then, days later, a cop who pummeled him was reinstated at the conclusion of a separate excessive-force investigation.

Although Landau was frustrated by this turn of events, he hoped for better news from Denver's own inquiry. But no: The Manager of Safety has decided not to prosecute the officers in question.

As we've reported, Landau was a nineteen-year-old Community College of Denver student when he was pulled over by police on January 15, 2009, allegedly for making an illegal left turn.

Marijuana was subsequently found on Landau's passenger, a fellow student named Addison Hunold, prompting the officers -- identified in the lawsuit as Ricky Nixon, Randy Murr and Tiffany Middleton -- to ask if they could search his trunk. Landau is said to have responded by stepping toward the officers and quizzing them about whether or not they had a warrant -- at which point they began punching him in the face. The attack caused Landau to fall, but the beating continued for several minutes, with one officer yelling, "He's going for the gun." (Landau was unarmed.) Once they finally stopped the assault, one officer reportedly put the following question to him: "Where's that warrant now, you fucking nigger?"

A lawsuit over the incident was filed in January 2011 (see it below), and Landau eventually received a $795,000 settlement from the City of Denver for the damage done to him. But officers Nixon, Murr and Middleton still have not been punished for their actions in the incident. Nixon was canned in connection with his role in an alleged assault on four women at the Denver Diner, also in 2009. However, he was later reinstated and remains on the Denver police force, as does Middleton.

And Murr? He was fired for taking part in another high-profile excessive-force case involving Michael DeHerrera -- but the Civil Service Commission recently recommended that Murr be reinstated, complete with back pay.

Now, all three are off the hook in the Landau case. Here's a statement just released by Denver Manager of Safety Alex Martinez's office:

Consistent with the conclusion of the former chief of police, the recommendation of the previous independent monitor, the recommendation of the former acting independent monitor, the recommendation of the current independent monitor, and the conclusion of the current chief of police, as well as the separate decisions of the Denver District Attorney and the United States Department of Justice that there is insufficient evidence to make any criminal accusations against any officers, the Manager of Safety determines there is insufficient evidence to sustain any allegations of inappropriate force, racial slurs or deceptive conduct by Officers Ricky Nixon, Randy Murr and Tiffany Middleton for the incident with Mr. Alexander Landau. Other than reprimands by the Chief of Police for failure to make complete reports, no disciplinary action is taken against any of the involved officers.
How does Landau feel about this decision?

Continue for an updated response from Alex Landau and his legal team, plus another photo and a video.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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