Michael Nuanes, Denver cop, busted in domestic violence beef involving Justin Bieber doll

Why has Justin Bieber's name surfaced amid allegations of domestic violence against Denver Police officer Michael Nuanes? Because Nuanes accuses his girlfriend of injuring him by hurling a Bieber doll at him.

The girlfriend, for her part, says Nuanes did considerably more damage. With his fists.

As noted by 7News, which features a detailed item about the current charge, Nuanes has made headlines in the past for a violent act. However, that event involved a member of the public -- David Nettles -- rather than a personal acquaintance.

This earlier happening is shorthanded in the still-pending lawsuit spawned by an alleged (and still-pending) police brutality incident at the Denver Diner in 2009. The paragraph appears in a portion of the document intended to establish a pattern of behavior on the part of the DPD. Here's the description:

On November 21, 2005, David Nettles filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Denver, Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman, and Denver Police Officers Carlette Havard, Michael Nuanes, Jr., Damian Naranjo, and Zachary Phillips. Mr. Nettles alleged that the officers, while responding to a domestic violence call across the street from Mr. Nettles's house, decided to apprehend Mr. Nettles. In effectuating the unlawful arrest of Mr. Nettles, one of the officers began punching him in the ribs, while another used nunchucks on Mr. Nettles's ankle, causing him to fall to the ground. While Mr. Nettles was on the ground, another officer kicked him in the head at least three times. One or more officers jumped onto Mr. Nettles's back, yelling, "when we give you an order, you obey it!" Another officer began punching Mr. Nettles in the back of the head, yelling, "you did it to your own damn self!" While the officers were attempting to handcuff Mr. Nettles's hands behind his back, he heard his shoulder snap. After he was handcuffed, the officers continued hitting him in the head and kicking him in the back. Mr. Nettles's injuries included a severe shoulder injury and bruising to his ribs, arms, left elbow, and knees. Upon information and belief, the case was settled for an unknown amount.

The settlement total was actually $75,000, 7News maintains. The station quotes 59-year-old Nettles, who still takes morphine for the injuries he suffered, as describing Nuanes as "the worst of them all.... He's just wicked. He's evil."

Cut to January 14, when, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the outlet, his girlfriend sent an iPad message to another Denver police officer, claiming that Nuanes assaulted her, then took her cell phone and held her captive in a bathroom. This information made its way to the department's internal-affairs department, which questioned both of the main figures in the drama.

The woman told interviewers that an argument broke out between her and Nuanes during dinner over his edict that she make their relationship Facebook official. From there, things are said to have taken a turn from the virtual to the physical, with Nuanes grabbing her by the hair, throwing her to the ground and slugging her in the side -- claims underscored by photos of bruises and wounds to her head, elbow and rib cage. Other evidence came courtesy of a cell-phone video that reportedly showed Nuanes pulling her off a bed by the leg, with her kicking in an attempt to free herself. During the clip, Nuanes can be heard griping that the woman didn't bring him dinner, the document allows.

Nuanes's account, as shared by 7News, is considerably different. He says that he and his girlfriend argued on the afternoon of the 14th, at which point she hurled a couple of dolls at him, including the miniature Bieber, which hit and bruised his foot in a painful way -- more damage than JB himself might have done under the same circumstances.

Afterward, he continued, the conflict flagged only to flare up again following the Denver Broncos' brutal loss to the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs the same day. At that point, he ordered the woman out of the house -- an edict she rejected. So he went to retrieve his cell phone with the idea of recording the argument, but by the time he returned, she'd taken refuge in the bathroom. She opened the door shortly thereafter to capture video of him using her own phone, at which point he grabbed the device and ran off, prompting a subsequent physical exchange that resulted in her scratching him and biting his finger. The affidavit confirms these injuries and several more.

At present, Nuanes is still on the job, but he has been assigned desk duty that prohibits him from packing heat. The counts against him reportedly include misdemeanor assault and obstructing telephone service.

As for the Justin Bieber doll, it was damaged. Clearly, there are no winners in this story.

Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "David Orton gets 180 years for 4-hour standoff with thirteen cops that ended with ass shooting."

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.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >