Brighton firefighter and former deputy sheriff Randy Cleveland is facing six felony counts, including assault and sex-assault charges, related to an alleged campaign of violence aimed at his wife and kids. But also under fire is the Brighton Police Department, which accusers say looked the other way -- or offered high fives -- rather than seriously investigate reports against him.
First reports about Cleveland's arrest surfaced in late May -- and within days, Fox31 had located a source who told a tale of horrific abuse and a subsequent cover-up, details of which also turn up in Cleveland's arrest affidavit.
According to the document, Cleveland and his wife married in 2006, but their initial happiness began to unravel the following year in the face of his alleged rage, which began building during her first pregnancy and escalated after the birth of their child. His wife said he bumped her with his truck and rammed her into a crib while she was holding their baby. She actually dropped the child during the second incident, she told investigators.
The violence didn't end after she became pregnant a second time, she maintains. She said Cleveland pushed her down a flight of stairs, hit her with the handle of a hammer, and stomped on her foot so hard while wearing firefighter boots that he broke a bone. And the kids weren't immune from this treatment, perhaps in part because he suspected her of infidelity. At one point, he reportedly said about one child, "I don't even know if the...thing is mine."
Cleveland's wife called Brighton police after many of these alleged attacks, but the Fox31 source says they didn't always show up -- and when they did, they treated Cleveland like a long lost pal, not an abuse suspect. Once, a cop called to the scene allegedly high-fived him. On another occasion, an officer supposedly looking into his behavior friended him on Facebook.
This chumminess came to an end, more or less, in April, after the parents of Cleveland's wife gave a couple of Easter bunnies to the kids. Problem is, Cleveland is allergic to rabbits, and he allegedly freaked out, threatening to kill the animals and tossing his wife down on their driveway. Afterward, the affidavit says, he responded to her threat to call the cops by saying, "You know how well that works for you."
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The case wound up at the 18th Judicial District DA's office -- the same agency that just cleared two officers in the shooting of Oleg Gidenko, whose family received a reported $150,000 payoff from the City of Aurora after his March death. In the beginning, the office declined to press charges -- but after the heat ratcheted up, the Boulder District Attorney's Office was named as a special prosecutor in the matter. Soon thereafter, Cleveland was hit with six felonies, including sexual assault, second-degree assault and stalking, plus eight misdemeanors, several of which accuse him of abusing his kids while attacking his wife, who's still so terrified that she's currently in hiding.
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What's the Brighton Police Department got to say about all this? In June, the City of Brighton issued a release insisting that its officers responded to every call at the Cleveland residence, fully cooperated with prosecutors, and offered no special treatment based on his job as a firefighter. Nonetheless, Boulder DA Stan Garnett tells the Denver Post that his department is considering whether to investigate the officers who responded to calls for possible police misconduct. As for Cleveland, he's next due in court on July 29.
Look below to see a larger version of Cleveland's mug shot and the Fox31 report: