Today the ACLU of Colorado asked the Denver Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau to re-open its investigation into two African-American citizens’ complaints of racial profiling arising from a traffic stop on February 13, 2009.
The DPD concluded the complaint was “not substantiated,” but a Denver County Court Judge who heard testimony about the incident reached the opposite conclusion. After a bench trial, the court dismissed the minor traffic charges and wrote that: “Police conduct was extreme, profane and racially motivated.” The court further found that the ACLU’s clients were “unlawfully detained for an unreasonable time and without reasonable suspicion.”
Upon reading the judge's stunning characterization of the officer's actions, The ACLU was forced to sue to obtain copies of the internal investigation file, which DPD refused to disclose on the grounds that it would be "contrary to the public interest." This was the sixth time the ACLU had sued over DPD's refusal to release information about allegations of police misconduct. The result was no different than any of the previous suits- ultimately the city released the files.
The files revealed serious discrepancies between one officer's testimony to IAB and his statements under oath in Denver County Court. They are so distinctly different that it is clear the officer lied. We are calling on the IAB to re-open the investigation and add the euphemistic but nonetheless serious charge of "departing from the truth."
Mark Silverstein , ACLU of Colorado Legal Director
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