Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Carroll: Denver's psychic safety czar - The Denver Post

Carroll: Denver's psychic safety czar - The Denver Post

John Hickenlooper must be wondering how he happened to appoint a psychic as Denver's manager of safety. When the mayor brought Ron Perea on board this summer, he seemed like a no-nonsense veteran of the Secret Service, a practical fellow who would carry on the disciplinary reforms of now-retired Al LaCabe.

Who knew Perea dabbled in mind-reading? Or that he would use this skill to justify a wrist slap for two cops who almost certainly lied in official reports to justify the takedown and sapping of a man they arrested?

No wonder Hickenlooper has asked the FBI to review the case. You would, too, if your longtime efforts to set a higher bar on police discipline were jeopardized by your new safety manager's first high-profile decision.

Perea acknowledges "inaccuracies" in both officers' reports of an arrest they made outside a LoDo nightclub. But Perea says he "personally views(s) the inconsistencies more as misperceptions" that do not rise to the level of "departing from the truth."

The officers may have told a cock-and-bull story, in other words, but please don't question their honesty. They basically meant what they said, Perea concludes.

It was a mere misperception for Officer Devin Sparks to believe that Michael DeHerrera "was about 1 foot away" and refused "numerous times to get back" before being arrested, even though that wasn't the case.

It was another misperception for Sparks to say DeHerrera "made a fist and spun to his left attempting to strike me in the face with a closed right fist," even though DeHerrera did no such thing.

And it was equally a misperception for Officer Randy Murr to assert repeatedly that DeHerrera attempted to strike Sparks, even though a police surveillance camera demonstrates clearly that he did not.

These misperceptions were not deliberate lies, in the psychic Perea's opinion, in part because the officers had to write their reports "immediately after the occurrence, without the benefit of reviewing a video multiple times and slowing it down."

If an officer's report matches the reality recorded on video, he's obviously telling the truth. But if his report fails to match the recording, he's also telling the truth, under Perea's standard, because he didn't have a chance to review the video first. Talk about a win-win!

Memory does, of course, play tricks on us all, and perhaps especially when it involves events occurring on a rapid-fire clock. But the reason Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal called for the officers to be fired is their accounts strayed from reality not just on details but on core facts. You may not agree with Rosenthal's recommendation, but docking them just three days' pay for false reports and unnecessary force is equivalent to a finger-wagging.


Anonymous said...

If Hickenlooper were a real man he would fire the 2 officers and the safety czar. djw

Anonymous said...

Why havent we heard anything from the Denver chief of police? He is payed a large salary. Shouldnt he be the one to control and dicipline cops, like firing the two liars and doesnt Mayor Hickenlooper have a responsibility to rid the city of people like Perea?
How many more of these incidents are going to be swept under the rug? I thought cops were to serve and protect? djw