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City turns over DPD records for excessive force case

6:57 AM, Oct 24, 2011   |    comments
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The Denver Post reports that Senior U.S. District Court Judge John L. Kane Friday told a city attorney that he is demanding the city comply with the law like any other defendant. At issue are some 350,000 pages of excessive-force reports documented by the city.

James D. Moore claims he was wrongfully arrested and beaten in March 2008 by a police officer who has since been cleared of any wrong doing. His attorney David Lane says they need the records to prove the city tolerates a pattern of abuse by its officers. Kane previously ordered the city to turn the records over.

"Denver does have a custom practice and policy of tolerating police brutality," Lane told 9NEWS. "We've had that custom practice and policy for decades."

Denver Assistant City Attorney Thomas Bigler says they're working on it, as well as Karla Pierce, also Assistant Director of Litigation for the City of Denver.

"We're not trying to hide anything," Pierce said. "We didn't not believe the order was reasonable but we have complied with it, we did not appeal it. We have, since day one, been working and doing our absolute best to gather these documents. It is simply a monumental task."

David Lane, the attorney for Moore, says he received a flash drive full of hundreds of documents that spanned hundred of thousands of pages going back eight years on Friday from the City of Denver.

The city is expected to turn over more information, including taped interviews with police and witnesses on CDs and DVDs this week. Lane and his law partner are under a confidentiality agreement and cannot release the documents to the public, and say they can only be used in the Moore case. The Denver Post is fighting for the release of all the records.

Lane told 9NEWS he wants all the documents he receives to be public eventually.

"There is no legitimate reason that any police complaint about brutality should ever be secret regardless of any circumstance," Lane said. "Those things should be scrutinized by the media and the public."

"It's been so slow to release these documents because they're full of confidential information, that by law we cannot release; juvenile suspects, sex assault suspects, domestic violence victims, NCIC's [National Crime Information Center], in addition to dates of birth and social security numbers. So, our office has to review every single page of documents, that's why it's taken so long," Pierce said.

She says the project has cost the city attorney's office over $100,000 so far.

Pierce says she has hired seven paralegals full-time to work on the project and hired an outside vendor to complete the document scanning. She expects it would take a year to redact all the information in order to comply, so she says the city is relying on the judge's protective order to keep the information safe.
Denver Police released this statement Sunday .

"All allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated, and once complete, undergo numerous layers of civilian review. Since 2005, Richard Rosenthal or his designee from the Office of the Independent Monitor has certified every investigation into allegations of excessive force as "thorough and complete."

Additionally, in his 2010 annual report Rosenthal states that 94.4% of all Denver Police Officers had no sustained cases of any kind. Lane's attempt to paint the Denver Police Department as "brutal" is clearly an attempt to influence the court process."

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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