Two Denver Police officers -- Devin Sparks and Randy Murr -- who were fired back in March over a vicious 2009 beating of 24-year-old Michael DeHerrera outside of a LoDo club that was caught on video have just gotten their jobs back, according to CBSDenver.
The Denver Post reports that the city will appeal the decision to reinstate both Denver police officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr. City Attorney Doug Friednash will also ask for a stay on the reinstatement of both officers until the Denver Civil Service Commission hears the appeal -- meaning both Sparks and Murr could not return to work while the appeal is pending.
Mayor Hancock is also calling for an appeal, 9News reports, saying:
According to the city attorneys that I've consulted with, the decision yesterday was a very narrow one. And one that leads us to believe that we need to make the effort to vigorously defend the original decision by Charlie Garcia.
Fox31 reports that Charles Garcia, Denver’s former manager of safety, fired the two officers in 2009 when they both lied about the beating in their police reports.
But in a case filled with controversy, a panel of civil service officers just added more by reversing Garcia’s decision Tuesday on grounds that the two officers had already been punished by Garcia’s predecessor Ron Perea and could not be punished again as the time limits for appeals had already passed, according to 9News.
DeHerrera, expressing his disappointment in the reinstatement of the two officers, said to 9News:
It was finally clear what was right and what was wrong and everybody agreed that they were wrong. So now to put that back up into the air is just ridiculous.
On the night of April 4, 2009, DeHerrera and his friend Shawn Johnson, were kicked out of a LoDo bar, The Denver Post reported. As Johnson was being arrested, lying in the street, DeHerrera was talking on his phone. Then, apparently without provocation, Officer Sparks grabbed DeHerrera and repeatedly struck him with a piece of metal wrapped in leather. However, the police report reflected an entirely different story -- which Police Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal called “pure fiction” -- one where Sparks claimed DeHerrera tried to attack Sparks so the level of force used was seemingly justified.
7News spoke with Nick Rogers, President of the police officers union said that the firings were based on “political outcry,” suggesting that the two officers never deserved to be fired as a form of punishment. Rogers went on to say that the two officers are “as happy as a person can be” with the reinstatement decision.