Did One Denver Police Officer Go Too Far?

September 18 2009, 10:05 AM

The beginning of Michael Cordova's trial yesterday brings the Denver police officer---who allegedly slammed bicyclist John Heaney's face into the pavement, breaking the man's teeth, and then charging him with felony assault---back into the news. Though the assault charge against Heaney was later dropped, a videotape that appears to support a charge of third-degree misdemeanor assault against Cordova is misleading, according to Cordova's lawyer, Marc F. Colin (via The Denver Post). Colin argued that Cordova, who was in plain clothes and working a ticket-scalping sting, did not use excessive force, as claimed by the prosecution, but did what he was trained to do when Heaney allegedly resisted arrest repeatedly. "What the video will show is that he did exactly what he was trained to do: Control the head and you will control the body," Colin said. Prosecutor Doug Jackson told jurors Cordova acted inappropriately and that his use of force was "not reasonable." Meanwhile, the television producer who filmed the arrest testified that he will never forget the sound of Heaney's teeth breaking on the pavement, according to 9News. The case involving Cordova is just one of many in which Denver police officers are accused of using excessive force in the community they were hired to protect.