Last Friday's reinstatement of two Denver Police officers involved in an excessive force scandal created enough angry citizens to give the city's 27th annual Martin Luther King Day marade renewed meaning, and has prompted the city to appeal the reinstatement.
The officers, Kevin Devine and Ricky Nixon, had been fired last April for filing inaccurate reports after a 2009 incident was caught on camera at the Denver Diner on West Colfax Avenue near Speer Boulevard. The former Manager of Safety Charles Garcia then said he fired the officers because their version of events differed with witnesses'.
A HALO camera caught Officer Nixon spraying a woman identified as Anna Ortega in the face with mace while she was on her knees and in a hold. Nixon can also been seen spraying mace into the crowd of bystanders while Officer Devine pushes another woman to the ground.
Yet both officers were recently reinstated with full benefits and back pay by the Civil Services Commission, citing inconsistencies by witnesses on both sides.
"We police ourselves. If we have somebody who is bad amongst us, we want them out. These guys didn't do anything wrong," Denver Police Protective Association spokesman Nick Rogers told CBS4 News.
Adding insult to injury, Nixon was the same officer involved in the widely-reported 2009 beating of Alex Landau--whose investigation, Westword reports, has still not been completed by the city though he settled for $795,000.
Denver's new Police Chief Robert White said he'll be looking into the department's investigation.
"If all this talk about restoring the public trust meant anything to them, an appeal has to be filed," Miriam Pena, another witness in the Denver Diner incident told 9News.
In 2011 Denver residents paid $1.34 million in excessive force lawsuit settlements.