Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s administration faces its toughest political test yet this week in a police shooting case, says the Denver Post. A top mayoral aide will decide the punishment of a police officer who killed a knife-wielding, developmentally disabled African-American teenager. The Post says the case has roiled relations between the African-American community and the police department, between the mayor’s office and the City Council, between city attorneys and civil-rights activists.
Hickenlooper and Manager of Safety Al LaCabe are being squeezed from all sides. The case could trigger multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the city. The city’s first non-Hispanic white mayor in two decades could lose support from black voters. Black leaders have threatened “nonviolent civil disobedience” if the punishment isn’t tough enough. Police officers may call in sick with the “blue flu” to protest a stiffer penalty.
Police Chief Gerry Whitman has recommended a 20-day suspension for officer James Turney, who shot and killed 15-year-old Paul Childs at the boy’s home last July, less than a month before Hickenlooper took office.