Denver Chief Asks Oversight Board To Let Him Comment On Cases


Denver’s police chief wants a chance to give his side of the story when a citizen review board judges how controversial allegations of police abuse are handled, says the Denver Post. Chief Gerry Whitman is seeking a bigger role with the Citizen Oversight Board, which recently criticized discipline for three officers in two cases of alleged excessive police force. The board issued reports taking issue with the discipline in those cases, the first time it had taken such a step. After an outcry developed that the discipline was too lenient in those instances, the Police Department reopened an investigation into one of the cases, saying new witnesses had come forward.

Shortly before resigning Tuesday, Safety Manager Ron Perea rescinded his decision in the other case, in which a man accused Officer Eric Sellers of roughing him up and handcuffing him after he criticized Sellers for failing to press charges against someone who punched him. Whitman called former Denver Councilwoman Cathy Reynolds, chairwoman of the board, to tell her he was disappointed she was commenting without giving the Police Department a chance to present its findings. The seven members of the board are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council.”I told her that it’s damaging to make those statements without reviewing the entire case,” Whitman said. “You have to have all the facts before you make a decision.” Whitman asked Reynolds to allow the Police Department to present its findings and recommended discipline for Cpl. Randy Murr and Officer Devin Sparks, accused in the beating of a man outside a Lower Downtown nightclub. Reynolds said Whitman is welcome to give the board his views, but she doubts anything he says will cause the board to change its views that Murr and Sparks should be fired.

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