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DPD cops fired for beating caught on tape won't get jobs back, for now

6:12 PM, Nov 8, 2011   |    comments
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The decision means that Officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr will not get their jobs back with back-pay, seniority and other lost benefits while they appeal their March 25 firing by former Manager of Safety Charles Garcia.

Garcia fired them for lying in their police reports about beating Michael DeHerrera and Shawn Johnson with an illegal weapon outside a bar in downtown Denver in April 2009.

In September, a panel of civil service hearing officers ordered that the two officers could go back on the force while they appeal their case, but the panel reversed that decision Tuesday.

"The commission finds that irreparable harm, injury or loss is likely to result if the request for a stay is not granted and the petitioner-appellees would be fully reinstated at this time, to their positions as a Denver Police Officer," Earl Peterson, executive director of the Civil Service Commission, wrote in an order Tuesday.

Denver's city attorney, who calls the case a "high priority" for his office, was pleased with the order.

"While the case is far from over, not having these officers reinstated is a significant and positive development," City Attorney Doug Friednash said.

Friednash says the city hopes the officers will never wear badges again and says his office plans to appeal the case as far as it needs to in the future.

A spokesman for the police union could not be reached for comment when this story went on-line.

Tuesday's order did not address the legal questions on which the officers based their appeal. Sparks and Murr claim the former manager of safety did not have the right to rescind a previous disciplinary order and create new discipline. Tuesday's panel only addressed if the officers should go back on the job while they appeal their firings.

Later this month, the city is expected to make its opening arguments in the case, according to Friednash. The officers will then have 30 days to make a response. A final decision in the case is not expected until early spring.

If you have news tips or comments, please email 9Wants to Know Investigative Reporter Deborah Sherman at Deborah.Sherman@9NEWS.com.

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