| Crime |

Joseph Valverde's Mother Has a Message for the Cops Who Killed Her Son

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

There's a good reason why most people don't recall the Denver police shooting that killed Joseph Valverde this past July: It took place mere hours before officers killed Ryan Ronquillo at a funeral home staging a memorial service for one of his friends. But even though the Valverde incident was deemed justified (as was the Ronquillo shooting), his mother feels law enforcers could have used less lethal means to subdue her son.

See also: Ryan Ronquillo Shooting Deemed Justified, But Family Says Police Murdered Him

As we reported at the time, the Valverde shooting was far less controversial than Ronquillo's subsequent death. The first official news of what happened came via this Denver Police Department tweet:

Before long, Denver Police Chief Robert White was on the scene to explain the situation to representatives of the media, as documented in this DPD twitpic:

The basics: At around 2:45 p.m. on July 2 near the aforementioned intersection of Platte River Drive and Florida, officers were taking part in an undercover drug bust reportedly involving cocaine. As the cops moved in to make the arrest, the department maintains that the suspect, later identified as Valverde, pulled a handgun, at which point uniformed officers opened fire.

Valverde had been in trouble before. His record stretched back to 2002 and included convictions on weapons charges, drug possession, assault and criminal mischief. Given this background and reports that he'd pulled a gun, the shooting quickly faded from the headlines, unlike the Ronquillo matter, which continues to be cited by activists who demonstrate against what they see as excessive force by police.

But Valverde's mother hasn't forgotten, as indicated by a recent note she sent to Westword.

"My name is Isabel Padilla," she writes. "I am the mother of Joseph Valverde. He was gunned down by Denver police July 2, 2014, the same day as Ryan Ronquillo.

"Police never stop to think of what it does to the families, especially the moms," she continues. "As a mother of a murdered child, I can't tell you in words what it's done to my life and how much I have cried. I will never be the same. These officers that chose to be trigger-happy have a family to go home to at night. They don't sit crying like we do. I've cried every single day since he was murdered.

"I have a message for these officers who are supposed to be trained in these situations: They could have Tased them or used rubber bullets. Who are they to be the judge if our sons lived or died? Both of them should have been able to be judged in the court of law. My message is: You might have gotten away with it on this earth, but you shall be judged by God. Exodus 20:13, thou shall not kill. God sees all."

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.