The Denver Police Department continues its downward spiral, as two more officers have been fired in the wake of excessive-force allegations. The latest pair—Kevin Devine and Ricky Nixon—had been videotaped shoving several women to the ground and macing at least one who had already been subdued (CBS4). The officers’ attorney and the police union say the officers acted appropriately and that the city’s latest manager of safety’s decision to fire them is not motivated by the facts (9News).
But others see the moves as long-overdue action from a seriously shaken-up city office. “Manager of safety Charley Garcia is single-handedly making up for years of inaction regarding alleged excessive-force cases,” writes Westword. Nixon is one of three cops captured while beating a man bloody in January 2009 and has been connected to a fatal 2006 shooting. Denver police chief Gerald Whitman had recommended suspensions in this latest case—30 days for Nixon and 14 days for Devine—but Garcia decided to sack them.
The latest firings mark the fifth and sixth related to excessive-force charges this year for the department, and come at a time when the leading candidates for Denver mayor have said they will fire the police chief if elected. While the fired officers had been accused of brutality, each one of them was dismissed for lying about the situation afterward (Denver Post). “The firings are the result of an enhanced disciplinary evaluation process and a mayor [Guillermo “Bill” Vidal] who chose not to seek election to the office, pledged not to let open disciplinary cases linger during his brief term and is not worried about maintaining political support within the Police Department,” writes the Post.