A Denver civil service panel’s decision to return two police officers fired for lying on the job suggests to cops that it is OK to lie, Denver’s independent monitor said yesterday, the Denver Post reports. The three-member hearing panel said that misleading statements made by David Torrez and Jose Palomares about their chase of a stolen car didn’t meet the legal bar needed to end their careers. The decision tells police “you can lie, and if it is not a serious enough lie, you won’t get fired,” monitor Richard Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal, who oversees internal investigations of Denver police and sheriff’s deputies, said returning to the job any officer who lies during an investigation has “horrible implications” for the department. Cops routinely are called on to testify in cases. Returning them to their jobs after they have lied over important matters weakens the criminal justice system, he said. In some cases, the officers will be called on to tell the truth during trials for years. Rosenthal, who came to Denver in 2005 from Portland, Ore, where he had initiated an independent monitor’s office, is leaving the position at the end of the week to create and head a new independent investigations office in British Columbia.