Adding to Denver’s ongoing budget problems, the city has recently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending its police force against alleged mistreatment of local citizens. The latest payout is $24,000, the price the Denver City Council has agreed to pony up in order to settle a lawsuit that alleges the withholding of public records that pertain to an internal investigation of racial bias by officers, writes The Denver Post.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado filed the suit, saying the police department’s records coordinator, Mary Dulacki, wrongly withheld information about the incident. Though the city eventually relented and handed over the records the night before a court hearing, the settlement allows the ACLU to recover its attorney fees.
According to the records, Ashford Wortham and Cornelius Campbell say police racially profiled them and stopped their vehicle without cause, hurling racial epithets while holding them at gunpoint and illegally searching them. Though a judge dismissed minor traffic violations stemming from the case, citing racial motivation, a 2009 internal investigation did not reveal any bias of officers, including Sergeant Perry Speelman. In 2004, Speelman was named in another lawsuit alleging racial profiling, which the city paid $75,000 to settle, notes Westword.