Denver Activists Aren't Giving Up on Justice in Police Brutality Cases

November 18 2010, 9:00 AM

A small group of community activists showed up at the office of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper yesterday to deliver 200 postcards, some signed by members of the city council, calling for more action on the issue of police brutality. Unfortunately, Governor-elect Hickenlooper was out of the office, spending time with his family this week, writes 9News. After a spate of high-profile cases, the activists are demanding that complaints into excessive force by Denver police officers be resolved within 90 days and that communication be improved with the people who are filing the complaints. They'd also like to see less of what they deem slaps on the wrists for officers guilty of using excessive force and more criminal charges when civilians are assaulted without good reason. "It is time to remind law enforcement that they are civil servants, not some kind of government-protected bullies," says Art Way of the Colorado Progressive Coalition.

In recent years, the department's officers have been involved in numerous alleged cases of brutality (read here and here), and the city has paid tens of thousands of dollars to settle them, including those involving Eric Winfield, Trudy Trout, and Amy Shroff. In the case of Michael de Herrera, Hickenlooper became involved once the case was publicized, calling upon the FBI for help investigating accused officers. But that probe, requested in August, never even began, reports The Denver Post, with the FBI citing the Denver Police Department's internal investigation as the reason.

The list of questionable cases seems to go onand on—so much so that they're starting to pique the attention of other politicians, including Denver City Councilman Michael Hancock, who is running for mayor. Hancock says there's a need to "restore trust" in the city's public-safety agencies following the string of brutality lawsuits and arrests (via the Denver Daily News).