Denver Police Officers David Torrez And Jose Palomares Reinstated By Civil Service Commission After Disobeying Orders (UPDATE)
Two Denver police officers have been reinstated after a Civil Service Commission panel overturned their 2011 firing.
In what appears to be a significant schism between the two men tasked with reviewing actions of the Denver Police Department, outgoing Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal reported Thursday of documented "bias on the part of Internal Affairs Bureau investigators and supervisors." The Internal Affairs Bureau also monitors the Denver Police Department.
Rosenthal further stated "there has been a high level of resistance to... recommendations intended to ensure thorough and complete investigations and appropriate documentation of those investigations." He concludes:
It is the opinion of the Monitor that these cases evidence substantial problems in the way the Denver Police Department is currently policing itself. The Manager of Safety and the new Chief of Police must change the current culture in Internal Affairs to ensure unbiased, thorough and complete investigations..
9News adds that conflict between Rosenthal, who accepted a position in British Columbia and leaves his Denver office Friday, asked the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to investigate the DPD.
In response, Alex Martinez, Denver's Manager of Safety, told the Denver Post Rosenthal's "farewell to Denver raises questions about that individual." Martinez said if a federal inquiry is warranted, Rosenthal should have requested it prior to his immediate departure.
Officers David Torrez and Jose Palomares were accused of disobeying orders on January 26, 2010, while pursuing a stolen Jeep. 9News reports a sergeant told the two to stop pursuing the vehicle and "let it go." Torrez reportedly responded "OK," but continued and apprehended the suspect anyway, damaging both vehicles in the process.
The Denver Police Department's official policy does not authorize pursuing a suspect engaged in "the mere act of fleeing, no matter how recklessly."
Members of the Civil Service panel agreed the two officers disobeyed orders and violated policy, but did not believe their actions merited firing, states 7News.
A Denver Post article argues the officers' reinstatement has "horrible implications." Denver police monitor Richard Rosenthal told the paper Wednesday the decision implies police "can lie, and if it is not a serious enough lie, you won't get fired."