Denver Police Department Covers Up Police Brutality Against Alexander Landau

By Qusair Mohamedb­hai posted in Civil Rights on Sat­ur­day, April 6, 2013

landau-thumb-200x241-18329On Feb­ru­ary 9, 2013, we pre­dicted that the Den­ver Police Depart­ment (“DPD”) would pro­claim that it was busi­ness as usual when two offi­cers bru­tally beat Alexan­der Lan­dau. Our pre­dic­tion was cor­rect! The fail­ure of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to charge Offi­cers Ricky Nixon and Randy Murr with civil rights vio­la­tions gave the DPD the nec­es­sary polit­i­cal cover to exon­er­ate the two offi­cers that both have track records of dis­hon­esty and violence.

On Fri­day, April 5, 2013 at 3:00 p.m., dur­ing the Col­orado Rock­ies home opener that was con­sum­ing the media’s atten­tion that day; the DPD announced that it did not find one shred of exces­sive force when Offi­cers Nixon and Murr bru­tally beat Alexan­der Lan­dau. Offi­cer Tiffany Mid­dle­ton was also involved in the Lan­dau inci­dent, but the vast major­ity of the force used against Lan­dau came from Nixon and Murr.

Denver’s pub­lic rela­tions machine was work­ing over­time as a Den­ver Post edi­to­r­ial appeared this morn­ing glow­ingly sup­port­ing the deci­sion, a press release was issued, and Denver’s Safety Man­ager had an “inter­view” up on YouTube explain­ing his decision.

Denver’s Inde­pen­dent Mon­i­tor Nicholas Mitchell imme­di­ately crit­i­cized the deci­sion, stat­ing that the evi­dence in the Lan­dau inci­dent cre­ated “sig­nif­i­cant ambi­gu­ity about what occurred.” Mitchell went on to state that he was trou­bled by the lack of inves­ti­ga­tion into Landau’s report that Den­ver Police Department’s Inter­nal Affairs bureau had “sought to intim­i­date and dis­suade (Lan­dau) from pur­su­ing his complaint.”

In sid­ing with law enforce­ment yet again, Den­ver went out of its way to point out the incon­sis­ten­cies in the ver­sions of the Lan­dau inci­dent as described by Lan­dau him­self and Addi­son Hunold, his friend and pas­sen­ger in the car that evening.

Not sur­pris­ingly, in its recent pub­li­ca­tions Den­ver fails to address a cru­cial piece of evi­dence that would have sup­ported Nixon and Murr’s deci­sion to beat Lan­dau.  The lack of a bloody hand print demon­strates that the beat­ing was indeed senseless.

Crit­i­cally, in the after­math of the Lan­dau inci­dent, Nixon specif­i­cally tes­ti­fied that Landau’s bloody hand print was all over Middleton’s firearm (attached below is the rel­e­vant depo­si­tion excerpt):

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Nixon stated that he beat Lan­dau almost to death because he observed him grab­bing Middleton’s firearm. With­out a doubt, attempt­ing to dis­arm a police offi­cer is a seri­ous crime that would gen­er­ally jus­tify offi­cers using high lev­els of force against an individual.

How­ever, in direct con­tra­dic­tion to Nixon, Mid­dle­ton specif­i­cally denied that there was ever any blood found on her firearm after the Lan­dau inci­dent (attached below is the rel­e­vant depo­si­tion except):

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Either Nixon was dis­hon­est in his account of the Lan­dau inci­dent, or Mid­dle­ton inten­tion­ally destroyed key evi­dence sup­port­ing the crim­i­nal charges that were brought against Lan­dau. All crim­i­nal charges against Lan­dau were even­tu­ally dismissed.

In any event, with­out any evi­dence sup­port­ing the exis­tence of the bloody hand print on Middleton’s firearm as allegedly observed by Nixon, there is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the repeated head beat­ing that Lan­dau endured. Den­ver sim­ply ignored the objec­tive phys­i­cal evi­dence found after the Lan­dau inci­dent and instead went out of its way to again jus­tify police bru­tal­ity and favor police accounts over those of the community.

It is wor­thy of men­tion that Nixon was ter­mi­nated for dis­hon­esty (he was later rein­stated) as a result of his con­duct in front of the Den­ver Diner on July 12, 2009 (we rep­re­sent the four women suing Offi­cer Nixon, Offi­cer Kevin Devine, and Den­ver). In yet another case, Offi­cer Murr was ter­mi­nated for his beat­ing of Michael DeHerrerra (he was later rein­stated).

It appears that no mat­ter how many times Nixon and Murr engage in dis­hon­esty and exces­sive force, the DPD will always give them the ben­e­fit of the doubt. There is very good rea­son why the fed­eral judge in the Den­ver Diner case found that the Den­ver Police Depart­ment has a cul­tural tol­er­ance of exces­sive force.