Gerry Whitman: Will Michael DeHerrera police brutality case speed chief to retirement?

The police-brutality controversy spurred by the attack on Michael DeHerrera -- which spawned yesterday's press event decrying violence against LGBTQ community members (to see photos, click here) -- has increased pressure on Denver Chief of Police Gerry Whitman. He defends himself and his force in today's Denver Post. But is Whitman also planning his exit strategy?

That's one possible interpretation of a story by Channel 4 investigator Brian Maass. He reports that Whitman "has signed up for Denver's Deferred Retirement Option, or 'DROP' plan, which means his career with the Denver Police Department will be over in five years, at most."

As DPD spokesman Lt. Matt Murray points out in Maass's piece, Whitman joined DROP this summer, before incidents involving DeHerrera, James Watkins, Marvin Booker and others riveted the public's attention on the question of alleged police misconduct.

Nonetheless, the resignation of Denver Manager of Safety Ron Perea is only one indication of the current scandal's potential impact. There haven't been widespread calls for Whitman's scalp thus far -- but word that he's already thinking about retirement could prove to be the equivalent of blood in the water.

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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