In the wake of well-publicized troubles involving multiple Denver police officers, the city's Department of Safety has been making a very public display of disciplining cops for behavior deemed over-the-line. Latest example: Ricardo Damian, an officer who's served more than two decades with the DPD, has been suspended for using homophobic and otherwise offensive language against female colleagues, including one he allegedly referred to as a "dyke bitch." Photos and details below.
The story was first reported by CBS4, which notes that Damian has been on the Denver force since 1991 and has what's termed "no significant disciplinary history."
However, an order penned by Deputy Director of Safety Jess Vigil and obtained by the station suggests that Damian's view of homosexuals doesn't tilt toward quietly accepting their lifestyle.
The report notes that an internal police investigation was launched after a pair of crime scene investigators complained about Damian's allegedly frequent anti-gay remarks. For instance, he's said to have referred to one female colleague as a "dyke bitch" and another as a "bitch" or a "fucking bitch" every time he heard their voices on the police radio.
A third staffer confirmed hearing Damian refer to a co-worker as "that dyke," as well as what CBS4 delicately describes as "crude phrases referring to sexual orientation."
Likewise, other witnesses quoted Damian as ridiculing same-sex marriage, ripping another employee's sexual orientation and wondering aloud "who the man in the relationship was and about whether or not (she) and her partner used 'toys' during sex."
When quizzed by investigators, Damian didn't exactly deny voicing such comments. An excerpt from the report reads: "Officer Damian admitted that he called (another employee) a 'dyke bitch' on a few occasions...and claimed that (she) had referred to herself as a 'dyke' in the past. He admitted saying some things that he 'isn't proud of' but claimed that he was never told by anyone that they were offended."
Indeed, he referred to his takes as "friendly banter" -- a characterization contradicted by at least one of the officers who complained about his behavior. That person said the comments didn't seem to have been stated "in jest or in a joking manner."
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Vigil ultimately sided with Damian's accusers. In the order, he writes: "Officer Damian repeatedly, and over the course of several months, made repugnant, offensive and derogatory remarks in the workplace. He breached the trust that was placed upon him by the department and he abused the authority he was given when he made the inappropriate, derogatory, biased and discriminatory remarks about...gender and sexual orientation" -- comments he dubbed "inexcusable."
As such, Damian has been slapped with two ninety-day suspensions to run concurrently, meaning he'll be off the job for three months total. That should give him time to come to terms with the reality that same-sex marriage became the law in Colorado this week.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.