Police Brutality Files: The Case of Michael DeHerrera and Shawn Johnson

August 17 2010, 10:23 AM

The Denver Police Department is mired, yet again, in allegations of unjustified brutality. The latest case involves two friends armed with video of their beatings (via ABC News). In April 2009, 24-year-old Michael DeHerrera used his cell phone to call his father, a sheriff's deputy, for advice as his friend, Shawn Johnson, was violently arrested. Police officers then pulled DeHerrera to the ground and beat him with a club until he was unconscious. He woke up with broken teeth, stitches, and bruises. Ron Perea, Denver's manager of safety, says Johnson and DeHerrera were intoxicated and shoved officers---and that "nothing" in the video proves there was excessive force. Richard Rosenthal, Denver independent monitor of police, disagrees, saying an officer apparently went as far as to fabricate a report and trump up criminal charges to justify the beating. Now, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper wants the FBI to review the case, according to 9News. In the past three years, the department's officers have been involved in numerous alleged cases of brutality, including the $65,000 settlement paid to Eric Winfield, who claims he was beaten in 2007; Trudy Trout, who received $10,000 after alleging she was roughed up; and Amy Shroff, who received $175,000 for the apparent zealousness of Denver police in a federal wrongful-arrest suit. Other questionable cases exist; the list seems to go on---and on.