The Denver Post
The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday renewed its call for a federal investigation of the 's use of force after outgoing law enforcement watchdog Richard Rosenthal said the department is incapable of investigating itself.
"We will be in communication" with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the ACLU of Colorado.
Told of the ACLU's intentions Wednesday, Daelene Mix, spokeswoman for Denver Manager of Safety Alex Martinez, said in an e-mail: "Although the examples cited in Rosenthal's report do not support an investigation by the Department of Justice, the new Manager of Safety and new Chief of Police have always intended to assess and make appropriate changes in the police department, including internal affairs."
There is no guarantee the DOJ will launch an investigation, although Xochitl Hinojosa, spokeswoman for the Civil Rights Division, said the agency would review the requests.
In his last quarterly report before leaving the Office of Independent Monitor to set up a similar watchdog agency in Vancouver, British Columbia, Rosenthal said Internal Affairs Bureau investigators favor officers they investigate, in part by failing to ask obvious questions or request documents that will illuminate instances of alleged excessive force.
Martinez slammed the report, saying none of the points Rosenthal raised would have changed the outcome of any investigations. In response, Rosenthal said the DOJ should investigate the department, calling "deficiencies" in the bureau serious.
"I think Rosenthal finally said some things that we at the ACLU have been noticing for years," Silverstein said.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
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.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The Denver Post