Denver police detective Leslie Branch-Wise's accusations against Denver Mayor Michael Hancock prompted him to make a video apology.
Denver police detective Leslie Branch-Wise's accusations against Denver Mayor Michael Hancock prompted him to make a video apology.
YouTube via Denver7/YouTube

Reader: In a Private Company, Hancock Would Be Gone

Mayor Michael Hancock is at one of the lowest points in his political career. On Tuesday, February 27, Hancock admitted to texting "inappropriate" messages to a former subordinate: Denver Police Detective Leslie Branch-Wise, who gave an emotional interview to Denver7 accusing Hancock of sexually harassing her.

Hancock, who's been looking at running for a third term, apologized for his actions but didn't admit to sexually harassing Branch-Wise, who served on his security detail six years ago. Branch-Wise eventually requested to leave his detail after another member of Hancock's team reportedly harassed her.

Though no other city official has called for Hancock to resign, some readers think it is his only option. Says Stephanie:

She ultimately reported to him and was reliant on him for her job. There is a different level of culpability in employment harassment. In a private company, he would be gone.

Mark adds:

Smiley face and explanation point. The mayor should resign. The question alone would have simply looked like an inquiry. Then getting aroused by it. Scumbag Mayor confirmed.

 Louis explains:

"But let me be clear. My behavior did not involve sexual advances." Yes, it did...!!! You are apologizing for it...!!! Resign now with what little dignity you have left.

But Bret concludes:

He should not resign. Denver deserves this guy. Not one of you chose to run against Hancock. You get what you voted for! It was known prior to his first campaign that Hancock was an unsavory individual.


Keep reading for more stories about the Branch-Wise/Hancock scandal.

Hancock's text message to Leslie Branch-Wise about pole dancing.
Hancock's text message to Leslie Branch-Wise about pole dancing.
YouTube via Denver7

"Can Mayor Michael Hancock Survive Sexual Harassment Claims?"

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in a screen capture from his video apology regarding his behavior toward Detective Leslie Branch-Wise.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in a screen capture from his video apology regarding his behavior toward Detective Leslie Branch-Wise.
YouTube

"Michael Hancock Text Scandal Fallout: Angry Cops, Sex Harassment Training"

Reader: In a Private Company, Hancock Would Be Gone
Facebook

"Rally Next Week Will Call for Mayor Hancock's Resignation"

Reader: In a Private Company, Hancock Would Be GoneEXPAND
scyther5/iStock

"No Explicit Due Process for Employees Harassed by Supervisors or Elected Officials"

Former City of Denver employee Wayne McDonald, Denver police detective Leslie Branch-Wise and Mayor Michael Hancock.
Former City of Denver employee Wayne McDonald, Denver police detective Leslie Branch-Wise and Mayor Michael Hancock.
File photo

"Did Hancock Throw Ex-Pal Under Bus to Save Himself in Sexy Text Scandal?"

Hancock's star had continued to rise despite past links to stories alleging sexually inappropriate behavior — most notably involving the Denver Players/Denver Sugar prostitution ring. But the latest revelation, which is emerging after the post-Harvey Weinstein rise of the #MeToo movement, suggests that this time around, he won't so easily avoid paying a political price.

In her interview with Denver7, Branch-Wise made public an open secret among political observers and the press: She was the Denver police officer to whom Hancock friend and political adviser Wayne McDonald was accused of making inappropriate comments in 2012. This behavior prompted Branch-Wise to request removal from the mayor's security detail, and Hancock sacked McDonald four days later. The following November, McDonald sued Hancock and the City of Denver over his firing, and while Branch-Wise was listed as one of the plaintiffs, Westword chose not to use her name.

McDonald's lawsuit ended with a $200,000 payout. In our 2016 post about that transaction, we said the only thing Hancock would get out of the deal was "the knowledge that the whole mess is finally behind him, thanks to some ready cash previously collected from the citizens of Denver."

Not so fast. What do you think of the mayor's behavior? Post a comment or email editorial@westword.com.

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