Racially motivated attacks in LoDo: Was one of them trumped up by a Denver cop?

One of last November's most shocking stories involved Denver Police Department reports about a series of racially motivated attacks in LoDo, with the perpetrators allegedly choosing victims at random based on their Caucasian or Hispanic ethnicity. The DPD made over thirty arrests; see photos of the men and women busted by clicking here.

Now, however, a report by Channel 4's Brian Maass calls into question the legitimacy of the case, or at least the severity of the attacks at the heart of it. Maass documents an inquiry into the actions of DPD Detective Paul Baca, who allegedly pressured one victim into exaggerating his injuries in order to prompt a more serious charge.

The man in question, Allen Andes, a financial advisor, says he suffered a broken tooth in a previous incident, but Baca put the dental issue into his report after Andes' subsequent mugging in Denver. At that time, Andes suffered bruises and cuts -- but the broken tooth would have been considered serious bodily injury befitting a heftier charge.

Among the individuals accused of attacking Andes is Rasheed Turner, who had been facing felony robbery, assault and ethnic intimidation counts. Now, Maass reveals, prosecutors have dismissed the case against Turner entirely.

There's no indication of similar embroidery in cases other than Turner's -- at least thus far. But these developments have led to an internal investigation of Baca that could have wide-ranging repercussions for the other defendants, as well as for the future of the blockbuster case as a whole.

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