"We identified individuals who have been victims of police brutality," Rathod continues, "and victims who had difficulty with the internal affairs process. These were people who filed charges of excessive force by police officers, or police officers lying, and then the internal affairs bureau would either ignore them or whitewash any investigation."
Among the affidavits is one by Westword contributor Britt Chester, identified under his given name, Jonathan Chester. In January 2011, Chester wrote in this space about getting into a confrontation with a cop after nearly being hit by a car. There's also the tale of Max Ford, which fits the parameters Rathod outlines above.At about 1:30 a.m. on a July 2007 evening, according to Ford's affidavit, he and his girlfriend were leaving Herb's Hideout when they saw several police cars with their lights on parked next to their vehicle, with officers pointing their weapons at a vehicle they'd stopped. Because the activity prevented them from getting to their car, they waited against a wall -- at least until one of the cops allegedly grabbed his girlfriend by the face and shoved her to the ground before roughly handcuffing Ford.
These actions reportedly caused Ford's girlfriend to have a panic attack marked by gagging and spitting -- after which a female officer is said to have slammed her against a pole while declaring that the spitting was disrespectful. "Not only did they arrest us for nothing, they assaulted and mocked us," Ford says in the affidavit.
The pair were arrested for obstruction of justice and disobeying a lawful order, prompting Ford to complain to internal affairs. But when filing the report, he felt like the investigator tried to intimidate him into dropping the matter. States Ford: "It really seemed like officers at lAB were on the same side as the officers who wrongfully arrested us. It was basically like talking to the same officers who had assaulted us and charged us with crimes we didn't commit." He adds that the incident made him want to move out of Denver.
Such tales are intended to prove that "Denver should be a party in this case," Rathod says. For a judge to agree, "we have to show a custom, policy and practice" of excessive force and other sins, "and one way to do that is to show that Denver tolerates police brutality -- that Denver fails to discipline its police officers, that Denver fails to investigate its police officers who've been alleged to have engaged in inappropriate conduct."Page down to read statements by Denver's former Independent Monitor and Manager of Safety.