4
| Crime |

Knockout game-style attacks: Did Denver police take too long to make them public?

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

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

Earlier this week, we told you about three New Year's assaults in downtown that bear strong resemblances to the "knockout game" -- sucker punches intended to render random strangers unconscious.

Now, the Denver Police Department is facing criticism for taking the better part of a week to let the public know about the incidents mere months after apologizing for a delay in sharing info about a beating at a light-rail station. This time, though, DPD chief Robert White isn't saying anything was done wrong.

As we've reported, the three latest assaults took place on January 1 between 1:30 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. near a trio of major downtown intersections: 16th and Blake, 20th and Market, and 20th and Larimer.

Among those victimized was Nick Lloyd, who spoke with 9News about injuries he sustained after he and a friend were approached by a group of men: multiple facial fractures that will require surgery.

Since then, another victim, Matt Draper, has come forward. He shared this image.... ...with 7News, whose Marc Stewart also sat down with the DPD's White to ask why it had taken so long for the cops to release information about the incidents -- questions very similar to ones the chief faced last October over a beating at the 30th and Downing light-rail station that had actually taken place on September 18 -- not that anyone knew about it at the time. Indeed, it took three weeks or so for Crime Stoppers to release video from the attack, and CBS4 subsequently floated a theory about the reason behind this passage of time. Turns out victim Gregory Moscato (who stopped cooperating with the investigation) actually knew two of his attackers, raising the possibility that he'd been pummeled in the wake of a drug deal gone wrong.

Before that info surfaced, though, White held a news conference during which he said, "In hindsight we absolutely should have released this information earlier to the community. The desire is to balance notifying the community with closing the case."

There's been no such mea culpa this time around, as witnessed by both White's conversation with 7News and a series of semi-defensive tweets sent out by the department.

Continue for more about the knockout game-style attacks, including a photo and two videos. Here are the tweets in question. The first four are numerically linked, while the fifth puts a period of sorts on the discussion:

As for White, he said, "Obviously, we'd like to get out information if we think it's of some relevance to the community." But he defended the timing of the release. "If we just acted on one or two of those incidents, we could have gotten out earlier," he acknowledged. "But after looking at the three of them collectively, and looking at 'Was there a possible pattern,' we couldn't have gotten it out earlier, because we didn't get all of the information from all of the three crimes at the same time."

White added that unlike in the case of the light-rail attacks, HALO cameras didn't capture any of the New Year's assaults. As such, finding who was responsible for clubbing Lloyd, Draper and the third victim -- and discovering whether the individuals in question were playing the knockout game -- will be that much more difficult.

Look below to see two 7News videos -- the main report and raw footage of Stewart's interview with White.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Knockout game in Denver? Cops investigating three New Year's sucker-punch assaults."

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.