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Ron Perea, John Hickenlooper Under Fire After Third Alleged Police Brutality Case In A Week

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UPDATE: Denver Manager of Public Safety Ron Perea announced Monday that he will resign his post effective at the end of August.

Perea had been facing calls for his resignation following three cases of alleged police brutality by law enforcement officers under his jurisdiction.

Perea was appointed to the position earlier this year.

In a release Monday afternoon, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said that Perea's resignation has more to do with his ability to gain public trust than it does with his credentials.

"Ron came to Denver with all of the right credentials and experience to lead the Department of Safety," Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said in a release. "He feels that the events of the past few days have limited his ability to gain community confidence."

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Mayor John Hickenlooper is facing heightened criticism over his continued defense of embattled Denver Safety Manager Ron Perea.

On Friday, the Denver Coroner ruled the death of Marvin Booker, a 56-year-old inmate at Denver's brand new Van Cise-Simonet Detention Facility, to be a homicide.

Booker died after getting in a scuffle with jail deputies, who then tasered him and placed him in a sleeper hold. The coroner determined that Booker's death came as a result of "cardiorespiratory arrest during physical restraint."

The coroner's ruling comes in the wake of two separate alleged police brutality incidents caught on video. One occurred outside a LoDo nightclub in April, 2009. In the other incident, police beat a man walking his dog in LoDo after the pedestrian exchanged words with a driver who was being ticketed.

After internal review, Perea determined that police did not use excessive force in the April, 2009 incident, and only disciplined the officers involved for filing inaccurate reports.

The decision prompted a lawsuit from the man the officers beat, as well as public outcry from Latino and African American groups in Denver, who requested Perea's resignation.

Perea has since reopened the investigation into the 2009 incident, and Hickenlooper has asked the FBI to perform its own analysis.

The other two cases are still under investigation.

Public outcry against Perea--who also oversees Denver Jail Deputies--grew even stronger over the weekend in response to the Booker ruling.

KDVR footage from Sunday services at Shorter A.M.E. Church (viewable below) shows Pastor Timothy Tyler disparaging Perea and criticizing Hickenlooper for continuing to support his embattled Manager of Public Safety.

"The Mayor says 'don't get upset with the manager of public safety," Tyler said mockingly in his sermon.

"'This job is new to him, that's what he said. He's never done this before... What the heck did you give him the job for if he don't know what he's doing?"

Nearly 200 protesters demonstrated outside of the jail where Booker died on Sunday. The demonstrators demanded disciplinary action against the deputies responsible for his death.

Denver Post Columnist Susan Greene slammed the Mayor on Sunday:

To his credit, he [Hickenlooper] has tried to curb police brutality by appointing an independent monitor and citizens oversight board. Both have helped oust certain bad cops who may have kept their jobs under the old union-backed disciplinary rules set under previous mayors.

I'd take reform efforts more seriously if Hickenlooper hadn't spent so long keeping so quiet about misconduct.

He said nothing when a cop refused to investigate the beating of a gay man on the 16th Street Mall. He barely rolled his eyes about a string of people locked in jail because officers carelessly mistook their identities.

The city's reluctance to buck its rank and file was most striking earlier this summer on the previous safety manager's second-to-last day on the job. That's when Al LaCabe, Perea's predecessor, worked up the courage to fire three officers who had broken the ribs, injured the kidneys and lacerated the liver of a 16-year-old boy. It took LaCabe more than two years to strip them of their badges.

"It's too premature to say the deputies in this case should be fired, and that's a decision for the manager of safety to make, Eric Brown, spokesman for the Mayor's office said over the weekend.

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