Yesterday, Judge John Kane ordered Denver to release every document related to excessive force complaints against city police officers and sheriff's deputies for the past eight years and stated that "further obstruction will not be tolerated." Outspoken attorney David Lane cheers the ruling, spurred by brutality allegations aimed at Denver cop Shawn Miller by his client, Jason Graber.
"Denver has been engaging in absolute stonewalling and covering up of evidence in the Graber case," says Lane, who spoke to us earlier this week about allegations of police lying that led to the false arrest of Aaron Puller for racially motivated LoDo attacks. "We caught them in the act, and Judge Kane is appropriately shining the light of day on Denver's cover up."
Speaking to 7News last year, Graber said he was walking from a Denver club to the Adams Mark hotel in March 2008 when a police car sped by so fast that he motioned for the driver to slow down. Instead, the officer in question -- Miller -- stopped the car and tackled Graber to the ground.
A few days later, Miller was involved in another alleged incident of brutality involving James Moore, described by West Denver Copwatch as a disabled Iraq war veteran. Miller and another officer arrived at the apartment in response to a noise complaint, and allegedly tackled Moore, who was with his girlfriend at the time, after ordering him to take his hand out of his pocket. According to the WDC account, Moore never had his hand in his pocket, but he was punched, kicked and struck with a sap anyhow. Lane says Moore actually "flat-lined" as a result of his pummeling, but subsequently recovered. He's also a Lane client.
Miller's reported combustibility has concerned Lane for quite some time. He spoke to Westword in March 2010 about his demand that the officer not carry a gun while giving a deposition in his office about the Graber lawsuit. Still, he says it was the Miller case that proved key to showing that Denver had something to hide.
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"We got information in Miller's file for the Moore case that we didn't get in the Graber case," he explains. "And it should have been identical."
Now that Kane has directed Denver to pony up information on every excessive-force complaint in recent years, not just documents pertaining to Graber and Moore, "it will expose all of the corruption over the years in protecting Denver cops and sheriff's deputies from any discipline for gross misconduct," Lane believes. "It will blow the lid off it."
What's next? "Denver's been ordered to turn over all this stuff," Lane says. "So we're eagerly awaiting the dump trucks filled with documents that will be arriving at our office."
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "See the men (and women) accused of racially motivated assaults against whites, Hispanics."