| Crime |

Racially motivated attacks: More evidence of exaggeration by a Denver cop

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

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

A Channel 4 report far more impressive than the startling news that a couple of guys in Boulder were busted for driving under the influence of marijuana involved the racially motivated attacks that took place in LoDo last year; see our photo gallery of arrested suspects by clicking here.

Earlier this month, investigator Brian Maass shared claims that a Denver Police officer, Detective Paul Baca, exaggerated the injury of one victim, presumably to justify more serious charges against his attackers. Specifically, financial advisor Allen Andes says Baca encouraged him to maintain that he'd suffered a broken tooth during the mugging even though the chip had taken place some time earlier in Philadelphia.

The latest? Maass has obtained recordings of trial testimony involving Rasheed Turner and David Littlejohn during which Baca implies or directly states that Andes's tooth injury happened in Denver.

A chipped tooth may not sound like a big deal, but it was the difference between misdemeanor and felony charges.

In the end, the case against Turner was dropped due to doubts about the veracity of Baca's testimony, and Littlejohn's attorney is asking for similar treatment -- and if his request is granted, the repercussions could be considerable. In a court filing from this week, Littlejohn's lawyer writes, "This shocking behavior calls into question the entire investigation as Det. Baca interviewed most of the witnesses in the case. A police officer who swears to uphold the law who is then found to have been untruthful may give rise to doubts about the integrity of the entire process in the mind of the general public."

Foreboding words. There's little doubt crimes took place: Many of them were captured in security footage. But the Denver District Attorney may not move forward with prosecution, or may be forced to seek lesser charges, for fear that Baca's testimony in the Turner and Littlejohn matters will taint any other case in which he played a part.

The result could be violent criminals skating -- by the skin of Allen Andes's tooth.

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.