Police brutality protested at Denver marade

9:09 PM, Jan 16, 2012   |    comments
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The thousands who participated will tell you it's as much about celebrating Martin Luther King Day as it is about protesting injustices that still remain.

Alex Landau marched with a megaphone, angry over recent decisions about police brutality.

He says he was beaten by police three years ago after a traffic stop in Denver.

Landau says he was pulled over for making an illegal left turn, and he asked officers to show him a warrant while holding his hands out to show he was unarmed.

"And then the next thing I know I'm getting struck in the face because I don't have my license," Landau said. "I remember getting hit in the face with a radio. I was struck repeatedly in the head with a flashlight. And the next thing I know I've got a gun against my head. The officers are talking about shooting me."

Landau settled with the City of Denver for $795,000, but he's still upset the officers aren't being punished.

"No doubt in my mind that the attacks were racially motivated. I would call it a hate crime," Landau said. "I would definitely love to see the officers prosecuted and removed from the streets."

He was shocked at last week's news that one of the officers in his case will be getting his job back.

Officer Ricky Nixon lost his job, along with Officer Kevin Devine, after another police brutality incident in 2009.

They were accused of lying in their official reports about the incident in which several women were beaten and pepper-sprayed outside the Denver Diner.

The city's Civil Service Commission reinstated both officers with back pay last week.

Denver's new police chief, Robert White, says he's scrutinizing the decision.

"I certainly can't say at this point whether the city will appeal," White said. "But I will say speaking for myself and the police department is it certainly raises the antennae of: 'Why'd this happen?'"

Brian Reynolds, an attorney representing the two officers reinstated last week, sent 9NEWS the following written statement:

"The fact of the matter is, the Denver Civil Service Commission panel's decision reflects an objective, honest and thorough consideration of all the evidence and the testimony of the witnesses and participants in the Denver Diner incident. In reviewing the actual evidence and testimony, as opposed to what has been portrayed in the media, the panel found that 'in reviewing the HALO, the written reports and the transcripts of the officers, the Panel finds Officers Devine's and Nixon's statements and testimonies were consistent with what happened and were not deceptive.' The officers' reports, statements, and testimony were all consistent with that finding."

In September, Denver's Civil Service Commission reinstated Officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr. They were fired for using inappropriate force and lying in reports about a beating that was caught on tape in Lower Downtown Denver in April 2009.

Landau says Murr was also involved in his beating.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has called for an appeal of the decision to reinstate Sparks and Murr.

Landau partnered with the Colorado Progressive Coalition, which re-launched a hotline for people who feel they've been mistreated by police. The telephone number is 866-329-0908.

The hotline offers to connect people with legal help along with help filing official complaints in any Colorado jurisdiction.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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