TrueCrimeReport.com, a national crime website by Westword parent Village Voice Media, has been giving Colorado unwanted attention. Three weeks after Tim Masters case detective James Broderick finished first on the site's weekly Top 5 Police Blunders list, the Denver Police Department has reached number one for its continuing hit streak.
Author Chris Parker goes beyond the cases that are receiving the most publicity in these parts: the video beating of Michael DeHerrera, the unexplained death of Marvin Booker, the James Watkins settlement.
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In this excerpt, learn about Irman Jones, Jared Lunn and Mark Ashford:
An Aurora, Colorado man, Irman Jones, has accused cops of knocking him out with their flashlight and tasering him during a traffic stop in 2008. He's filed a lawsuit, and in the wake of the FBI's investigation of the DeHerrera case, has called for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to have the FBI look into his case as well.
Another man, Jared Lunn, had his case reopened last week by Denver Public Safety Manager Ron Perea hours before the embattled official tendered his resignation. Lunn, a volunteer firefighter, was assaulted in 2008 while carrying a pizza to his car. That's when a drunk man punched him, knocking the pizza from his hands after accusing Lunn of flirting with his girlfriend.
When Lunn spotted officer Eric Sellers, he asked the officer to arrest the man. Sellers said no and told him to get in his car and get out of there. As he turned to get in his car, Lunn muttered, "Way to protect and serve."
Let no man tell a Denver cop how to do his job. Sellers allegedly put him in a cartoid choke hold, kicked his legs out from under him, and slammed him to the ground all the while swearing at him. After Sellers let him go, one of the officers supposedly said to one of Lunn's friends, "Your buddy just got fucked up by the toughest cop in Denver." (Clearly it's a cut-throat competition.) The 15-year veteran of the force initially received a 45-day suspension, but now the case will be re-investigated, offering the possibility of greater (or maybe lesser) sanction.
But Denver's finest never rest, so it wasn't long before another case surfaced -- this one also captured on video. Mark Ashford claims to have been beaten black and blue while walking his dog. He says he saw the cops pull over a vehicle for running a stop sign. When he told the driver he'd testify that he saw him stop, the cops came over, detained him and demanded his I.D.
Ashford says he tried to take their picture, at which point they slammed him into the nearby fence and punched him, before forcing him to the ground. (Who knew they were so camera shy, given their prior performances?) The case is still under investigation.
Look below to see Channel 31's coverage of the Ashford case, complete with video footage of the incident. It's more than deserving of TrueCrimeReport.com's recognition: