Charles Porter, cop involved in Juan Vasquez stomping, fired by outgoing manager of safety

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.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts