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Ricky Nixon: Inside Alex Landau-Denver Diner cop's civil rights lawsuit against city

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Our previous reporting notes that in July 2009, Kelly Boren, Sharelle Thomas, Ana Ortega and Kristal Carrillo were at the restaurant when they say Denver police officers Nixon and Devine menaced them with nightsticks, pulled or shoved a number of them to the ground and sprayed them with mace despite no compelling evidence of actual wrongdoing caught on video by a nearby HALO camera.

Initially, DPD investigations determined that "discipline against [Nixon]...was not supported by the evidence" and "the use of force was justified" in the Denver Diner incident, the lawsuit says. But in January 2011, as the controversy continued, Nixon was put on desk duty -- a reassignment described as "humiliating." Then, that April, ex-Manager of Safety Charles Garcia "overrode all other recommendations, from every level of review," to terminate Nixon's employment.

Afterward, the lawsuit quotes one member of the Internal Affairs Bureau as telling Nixon, "Rick, we all know this is bullshit, this is political. You need to fight this." The anecdote adds that Nixon "was in tears and emotionally distraught."

The lawsuit details what's characterized as the city's attempts to block Nixon from receiving unemployment benefits prior to January 2012, when he was reinstated by the Civil Service Commission. Moreover, Denver, which fought the CSC's decision, is also criticized for what the document implies were retaliatory actions once he was back on the force.

Examples: In May 2012, Nixon was "humiliatingly not issued his Police officer's badge, and [was] informed that he cannot wear his uniform, or carry his duty weapon." In addition, the suit goes on, Nixon was "assigned to the Photo Radar Unit...without justification or excuse, and in violation of his rights as a US citizen, and in contravention of the Constitution of the United States of America." This move is described as "a hostile action used to humiliate and embarrass" Nixon.

Continue for more about Officer Ricky Nixon's lawsuit, including photos, video and documents.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts