Denver officers punished a man for “contempt of cop” by charging him with traffic violations they couldn’t prove, one of their commanders concluded. The Rocky Mountain News quoted that assessment by patrol Division Chief Daniel O’Hayre in a racial profiling complaint filed by Terrill Johnson. Two officers were given oral and written reprimands.
Johnson, 31, an airline mechanic and a decorated veteran, he was followed home from his job by gang unit officers in 2002 and arrested on traffic charges that later were dropped. Johnson alleged that officers used excessive force. O’Hayre said that, “the officers’ initial actions were legitimate follow-up on a traffic incident. The fact that they later loaded traffic charges on the complainant – charges they knew could not be proved – is evidence they intended to punish the complainant for ‘contempt-of-cop.’ ”
Johnson said that officers followed him him home. When he came out, he said they drew their weapons, ordered him to drop a gun, although he had none, warning, “Don’t move or I’ll shoot your black ass.” Johnson said officers punched him and slammed him on a squad car during the arrest.