A Denver police union official ripped Mayor John Hickelooper’s request for an FBI probe into the police beating incident, calling the mayor’s move politically motivated.
Vince Gaviuto, vice president of the Denver Police Protective Association, told 9News.com that there is no need for an FBI review of the case because, in his words, “It’s over. It’s done.”
The two officers involved in the 2009 arrest of two men outside of a downtown Denver nightclub, Officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr, lost one day of pay and was suspended three days, respectively. Denver Safety Manager Ron Perea handed down the punishment after concluding that the two officers were merely guilty of writing erroneous police reports. For Gaviuto, that should have been the end of the matter.
But the case continues, he says, because Hickenlooper is trying to use the incident to his political advantage.
“This is a case where elected officials are using the media for political grandstanding,” Gaviuto said. “It’s hard to say, but it’s as plain as the nose on my face.”
Hickenlooper is the Democratic candidate for governor in the November general election.
The FBI has agreed to look into the case to offer an opinion but stresses it is not performing an official investigation.
Hickenlooper said that he was merely making sure all the bases were covered when he asked the FBI to step in.
“This is what we’ve always tried to do, to make sure that we are in a deliberate and careful way of trying to arrive at appropriate decisions,” the mayor said. “This is no different than anything we’ve ever done.”
Perea said that he will review the results of the FBI’s probe, but won’t say if it will result in any changes in his decision.
“I will definitely take what the FBI has to say very seriously and discuss it,” the safety manager said. “I won’t speculate on what could occur or any options. It’s too early for me to speculate.”
Meanwhile, a Denver Post editorial says Perea made the “wrong call” in merely fining and suspending the officers involved, suggesting that they should instead have been fired.
In their Tuesday editorial, they stated:
“Two Denver Police officers remain patrolling city streets even though they shouldn’t be — courtesy of Denver’s new manager of safety.
“Ron Perea, new in his role as our city’s manager of safety, has surprisingly decided to side with the officers, despite police video evidence that an unarmed 23-year-old was badly beaten as he stood talking on his cellphone.”
The Post added that Perea’s ruling “also is sending wrong signals to Denver’s police community that bad actors in their ranks will be tolerated.
“No reasonable person would accept the officers’ report, which described DeHerrera’s conduct as combative,” the editorial stated. “That account so clearly clashes with the details shown in the HALO video… .”