The Denver Post reports that Denver manager of safety Alvin LaCabe fired three Denver cops, including controversial officer Charles Porter, during his second-to-the-last day on the job.
The reason: their behavior during the 2008 stomping of a sixteen-year-old, Juan Vasquez.
Vasquez suffered a lacerated liver and broken ribs.
In a 2008 blog post, Westword's Jared Jacang Maher noted that the May 8 charging of Porter with aggravated assault in the case represented an extremely uncommon occurrence. Maher wrote:
To understand how rare it is for an officer in Denver to be arrested for excessive force, one need only look at the slideshow Westword compiled to accompany our April 3 feature story about how race factors into police shootings. In the last twelve years, there have been 86 cases of Denver officers shooting citizens, forty of whom died. While some of these instances resulted in departmental discipline, not one of the officers involved was charged with excessive force.
The aforementioned slideshow included a description of a 2007 shooting that involved Porter.That passage reads:
March 29, 2007: Officers Damon Bowser and Chuck Porter were on patrol in Globeville neighborhood when they spotted a speeding vehicle. After attempting to elude officers, the car crashed through a chain-link fence and onto the front porch of the corner home at 4695 Lincoln Street. A man, later identified as 21-year-old Gustavo Cruz jumped out of the vehicle and ran down an alley. Bowser was in close pursuit, when Cruz turned and faced the officer. The fleeing man pointed a gun at Bowser, who withdrew his weapon and fired while still running, and fired again while seeking cover. Cruz fell, but got up and ran. He showed up more than two hours later at Fitzsimmons Medical Center with a single gunshot wound in his buttocks. Cruz said that his weapon was really a BB gun.
Bowser was eventually cleared of wrongdoing in this incident -- but Porter experienced more ups and downs due to the Vasquez matter. In March 2009, after the City of Denver had paid out over $800,000 to the Vasquez family, he was found not guilty of wrongdoing.
Nonetheless, Porter's been on administrative leave since then -- and today, LaCabe showed him the door along with fellow officers Luis Rivera and Cameron Moerman. The latter pair testified against Porter, but only after they'd allegedly failed to report Porter's actions.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.