Schmuck of the Week

Denver Diner cops going back to streets because some city Shmuck missed filing deadline

Kevin Divine and Ricky Nixon, the Denver police officers who were fired last April by then-Manager of Safety Charles Garcia because of their behavior during -- and after -- a controversial altercation at the Denver Diner in July 2009, have gotten their jobs back, at least for now. Blame our Shmuck of the Week, an unnamed member of the Denver City Attorney's office who was four days late with a filing.

On Monday, Denver's Civil Service Commission issued an order that Nixon and Divine should be temporarily reinstated because the city had missed a deadline.

After a commission hearing panel overturned Garcia's firing of Divine and Nixon in January, the city appealed the panel's decision, and asked the commission to stay the pair's reinstatement until commissioners could rule on the city's appeal -- but the city attorney's office missed the filing deadline by four days.

That was the reason the commission gave on Monday when it ordered that the two cops be returned to the force pending a hearing on the city's appeal.

Not surprisingly, the order outraged those who've followed the case, including the Colorado Progressive Coalition's Miriam Pena, who was present at the restaurant that evening and is friends with one of the women now suing the officers. That suit was filed on time.

On Tuesday, Manager of Safety Alex Martinez announced that he was adding a new deputy manager, retired judge Jess Vigil, in charge of police discipline. Although Martinez said the move was not connected with the Civil Service Commission order issued the day before, let's hope a calendar comes with Vigil's new job.

More from our Shmuck of the Week archive: "Tim Neville wins Shmuck title for comparing Obama administration to Nazis."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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