Ricky Nixon, cop fired over incident at Denver Diner, tied to earlier beating & shooting death
As we reported yesterday, Manager of Safety Charley Garcia has sacked Denver cops Ricky Nixon and Kevin Devine over allegedly billy-clubbing women to the ground and macing one of them in a July 2009 incident at the Denver Diner. Now it's been confirmed that one of the cops, Ricky Nixon, was also involved in the 2009 beating of Alex Landau and the 2006 shooting death of Jimmy Orozco.
As first reported by CBS4, a HALO security camera captured the July 12, 2009 incident in which Nixon and Devine allegedly beat several women with billy clubs and maced one of them in the eyes even though she appeared to already have been subdued by another cop. It was apparently enough for new safety manager Garcia to nix Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman's recommendation that Nixon and Devine get thirty- and fourteen-day suspensions, respectively, and instead show them the door.
Maybe Nixon's history had something to do with it. As confirmed by Kathy Malone, spokesperson for the Manager of Safety's office, Nixon was also involved in a January 15, 2009 incident in which nineteen-year-old Community College of Denver student Alex Landau was stopped for allegedly making an illegal left turn and ended up being beaten by Nixon and two other Denver cops wielding radios and a flashlight as bludgeons. According to a lawsuit filed over the incident, the fracas began when Landau asked Nixon if he had a warrant to search his trunk and Nixon allegedly responded by punching him in the face. Landau would eventually be treated for a broken nose, lacerations and closed-head injuries -- but not before he demanded somebody take photos of him:
Three years before that, Nixon was also involved in different violent incident -- one that left 23-year-old Jimmy Orozco dead. According to a Manager of Safety report about the episode, Nixon and his partner caught Orozco and an accomplice breaking into a car at the Metro Urban apartments near Coors Field. When the officers shined their flashlights on Orozco and the alleged accomplice, Orozco reportedly started the car and drove toward the officers. Nixon fired, breaking the driver's-side window and hitting Orozco in the chest. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Nixon was placed on administrative leave, as per policy, while investigators looked into the incident. According to a Rocky Mountain News article at the time, "It isn't against policy to fire at a moving vehicle, which can be considered a deadly weapon, though officers are advised of the dangers. The policy tells officers that it's difficult to hit a moving vehicle and that hitting the driver could make the situation worse." And in this case, the Manager of Safety eventually concluded the shooting was warranted -- a conclusion supported by the Denver District Attorney's Office and the Office of the Independent Monitor.
However, the report clearing Nixon of wrongdoing suggested there were some odd elements to the shooting. According to the cops' testimony, the car was coming directly at the officers, but the bullet that killed Orozco entered through the driver's-side window. To that, the report explained, "Officer Nixon has no possible way of knowing that Orozco would turn the vehicle slightly to the right before reaching the officers," and that investigators looking into the shooting had determined that "the officer could have had a point of aim on the windshield of the vehicle and strike (sic) the side-window."
Nixon subsequently returned to patrolling the streets. That won't be the case this time.
More from our News archive: "Alex Landau rhymes about being beaten up by Denver Police (VIDEO)."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- Marijuana Attorney Rob Corry Hits Pot Shops With Class-Action Pesticides Suit
Sun., Oct. 11, 2:00pm
Fri., Oct. 16, 12:00am
Fri., Oct. 16, 7:00pm
Fri., Oct. 16, 7:00pm
- High Rent in Denver: Ten Examples of What $1,200 a Month Will Get You
- Columbine to Oregon's Umpqua College: Tragic List of School Shootings Since '99