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Audit finds Boulder detective failed to finish work on nearly 50 cases

The District Attorney's Office shared greatest concern over three misdemeanor domestic violence cases that could have been prosecuted.

BOULDER, Colo. — The Boulder County District Attorney's Office completed its audit into a police officer they say failed to finish work on 46 cases. According to the report, three of those unfinished cases concerned prosecutors.

The audit found three misdemeanor domestic violence cases handled by Officer Kwame Williams had enough evidence to move forward with prosecution but the statute of limitations had expired. 

Some of these cases, according to the DA's office, involved victims of sexual assault and domestic violence who were not contacted for a prolonged time after the crimes were reported to police. 

"Williams' failure to work these cases and to communicate with these victims fell below what is expected and required of a detective," said the audit. 

The review discovered statute of limitations had expired in five cases, and all of them involved allegations of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses. Three of the cases had enough evidence to support a criminal filing, according to the DA's office. 

"When a survivor isn't taken seriously the first time they engage with the system or their experience is negative with the system, oftentimes they won't go to the police the next time it happens," said Cymone Williams with SafeHouse Denver. 

Williams can't talk about the cases in Boulder, but she can share the impact of lacking police work. 

"They get the message that my voice doesn't matter or maybe even what I experienced isn't valid," she said. "And we just know that is not true."

The audit said three of the five defendants committed more crimes while the original investigation was pending under Williams. 

"Oftentimes what happens, by the time police are involved we know it's not the first time the person has potentially hurt that person," Williams said. 

The DA's office said the Boulder Police Department responded appropriately. Cases were reassigned to other detectives.

“At the request of the Boulder Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office conducted a thorough review of every case at issue," DA Michael Dougherty said in a statement. "The results of our audit were largely consistent with what the Boulder Police Department had already released to the public, but I appreciate that they wanted an independent review of each case.  I recognize that the Boulder Police Department did exactly what one would hope after discovering this failure by the detective.  They notified all of the appropriate parties, released a statement to the community, and requested an independent review by the District Attorney’s Office of the cases impacted.”

Before the police department requested an audit by the DA's office, the department conducted an internal investigation

It found cases assigned to Williams had not been investigated fully between 2019 and 2022. Five officers -- Williams and four others within his chain of command -- were disciplined. 

Williams was suspended for five days without pay and the department placed him in the patrol unit.

Of the 46 cases reviewed during the independent audit, 12 of them resulted in the filing of criminal charges. Sixteen of the cases didn't have enough evidence for an arrest.

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