Police beating? John Hickenlooper not taking position on case, but wants FBI to weigh in
Yesterday, we told you about a disagreement between the Office of the Independent Monitor's Richard Rosenthal and Manager of Safety Ron Perea over the April 2009 Denver Police beating of Michael DeHerrera. A video seems to show DeHerrera being attacked by Officer Devin Sparks while he's talking on a cell phone, but Perea determined that nothing untoward took place. Rosenthal disagrees, and now Mayor John Hickenlooper wants another agency to look into the case: the FBI.
Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown isn't sure when his boss first saw the video in question -- but he emphasizes that his request for the feds to offer an opinion shouldn't be interpreted as the mayor's taking a position about the propriety of the bust.
"It's not agreeing with or disagreeing with the Manager of Safety or the Independent Monitor," Brown says. "The mayor feels that anytime you can get increased transparency with another objective look at something helps."
How quickly would Hickenlooper like the FBI to make a determination?
"I'm not aware of any timeline that was placed on it," Brown replies. "I know that Ron made the call to the FBI yesterday and asked them to take a thorough look at the case from top to bottom, and they agreed to do that."
As for whether Hickenlooper would prefer to have a decision before or after the November election, Brown says, "I don't think that kind of timing played into it at all. It's just a chance for the FBI to look at the case and weigh in about what they think was appropriate."
Here's Hickenlooper's official statement about the request:
To help ensure justice is appropriately served, the City has requested the FBI review this case in its entirety. The video is very disturbing, and when viewed in isolation it does not reflect well on the officers involved. But the video tells only a portion of the story. This was the Manager of Safety's decision to make. He did so after reviewing all of the evidence, which included the video and statements from witnesses and the officers involved. It is appropriate for the Independent Monitor to question the Manager of Safety's decision. Very few cities have this type of check-and-balance system that we have created in Denver. Even still, we are asking for a federal review of the matter.
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