Videos: Patricia Lucero slammed into walls by cop in controversial no-discipline incident
Update below: Yesterday, we shared a post about Patricia Lucero, who was bloodied during an incident involving a Denver police officer. The Office of the Independent Monitor recommended that the officer be disciplined, but the Manager of Safety's office disagreed.
We've now obtained surveillance footage showing what happened. It captures the officer pushing or slamming Lucero's face into walls on several occasions.
See the clips and get more details below.
In the first video, time-stamped December 28, 2012, Lucero and her boyfriend can be seen sitting in a hallway outside an apartment. Two officers subsequently emerge from the apartment, and at around the 1:50 mark, they attempt to handcuff Lucero. She can be seen struggling and shouting, at which point she's forced to the ground and the cuffs are finally attached.
The female officer subsequently pulls Lucero to her feet and pushes her face-first into a wall, then spins her face into the same wall seconds later.
Note that this video, like the others, is soundless.
At about the sixteen-second mark of this video, which captures a location near a pair of elevators, the female officer can be seen slamming Lucero's head into the corner of another wall.
Finally, this video shows a large bloodstain inside the elevator and drip marks on the floor -- as well as the cleaning crew mopping them up.
Another video features Lucero being interviewed after the incident, as shared by the Denver Post:
Here's the description of the incident in the Office of the Independent Monitor's annual report:
Two officers were called to an apartment in response to a 911 hang up call, and decided to take an intoxicated female into protective custody for detoxification. After the woman was handcuffed, she attempted to step towards and yell at her boyfriend multiple times. One of the officers twice maneuvered the woman head-first towards walls in a manner that risked serious injury. The woman did, in fact, receive a laceration to her head that required multiple sutures to close. When taking individuals into protective custody, officers have an affirmative obligation to "make every reasonable effort to protect the detainee's health and safety."5 The OIM recommended that the officer be disciplined for using inappropriate force and failing to protect a detainee who was handcuffed and otherwise vulnerable, but the Manager of Safety's Office did not accept our recommendation. The Chief of Police ultimately reprimanded the officer for failing to maintain certification on the use of police nunchucks, and no further disciplinary action was taken.
A photo of Patricia Lucero after the incident, provided by the Manager of Safety's Office.
And here's a statement from the Manager of Safety's Office regarding the decision not to impose discipline on the officer, Marika Putnam.
"The Chief considered and determined what he believed to be the appropriate discipline in this matter. Pursuant to the City Charter, a reprimand is a disciplinary order the Chief is authorized to issue, which does not require an independent review by our office. Per established and agreed upon processes between our office and the Independent Monitor, in the instance where the Monitor disagrees with the Chief's decision, the Monitor makes a formal request in writing to the Safety Department for an official review of the disciplinary decision. At no time did the Monitor make such a request related to the Putnam matter. In light of the discipline that was imposed per the authority of the Chief and in the absence of the noted request by the Monitor, the Chief's Order of discipline stood. Had a request for official review by the Monitor been received by the Safety Department, it would have engaged in a review to determine whether the Chief's disciplinary decision was reasonable."
Update: After posting the statement from the Manager of Safety's Office, we received a reply from OIM's Mitchell, taking exception to some of the claims. His response reads:
The Manager of Safety's Office released a statement indicating that it did not review the DPD's decision to exonerate the involved officer, as the OIM never asked it to examine the case. This is not accurate. On June 25, July 3, July 5, and again on August 30, I sent written communications to the Deputy Manager of Safety expressing my disagreement with the DPD's proposed handling of the case, and recommending to the Manager that discipline be imposed consistent with the OIM's position. The Manager of Safety's Office also participated in meetings with the OIM and DPD Command staff regarding this case on July 9 and August 30 in which the OIM made formal disciplinary recommendations. In those same meetings, the Manager of Safety's Office articulated its position on the disciplinary outcome for the involved officer.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive circa March 13: "Photos: Patricia Lucero was bloodied by a Denver cop who wasn't disciplined."
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.