Two Denver police officers were fired on Friday, almost two years after the April 2009 beating of a gay man that was graphically captured on video surveillance. The officers are accused of using excessive force, lying about the incident and falsifying a police report. One of the officers has a history of brutality complaints.
In announcing the firings, Denver's Manager of Safety Charles Garcia said the actions of officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr, did "immeasurable harm" to the department. "We are entrusted with the public's confidence and that requires incorruptible character, fair treatment of all people and truthfulness in all of our officers," Garcia said.
Sparks was fired for "inappropriate use of force" and lying in his police report. Murr was fired for falsifying his report on the altercation.
The flap stemmed from an April 2009 incident when Michael DeHerrera and his partner, Shawn Johnson, were detained by police after Johnson was ejected from a bar in lower downtown Denver. Murr and Sparks said in their police reports that the men were belligerent, and force was required to subdue them. But a city surveillance camera showed DeHerrera talking on a cell phone when Sparks suddenly hurled him to the ground and pummeled the prone man with a sap, a metal rod wrapped in leather.
There was a huge "uproar" across the LGBT and Latino communities when Denver's then-safety manager Ron Perea suspended Murr and Sparks without pay for three days, adds the Denver Post. Perea subsequently resigned and Garcia took over as safety manager March 16.
Murr is the subject of another police brutality lawsuit currently in federal courts, reports the Denver Post. Murr is implicated in the beating of a Alexander Landau, a motorist stopped for making an illegal left turn. "That happened in January 2009, months before the incident in LoDo. An internal investigation in that case is underway. Murr has denied beating Landau but acknowledged in court papers that he put a gun to Landau's head."
Watch video of the beating AFTER THE JUMP ...