DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 has learned that Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman is now recommending the termination of Officer Devin Sparks, who was caught on videotape throwing Michael DeHerrera to the ground in 2009 and manhandling DeHerrera.
The firing recommendation emerged from a disciplinary hearing held Monday by Whitman. After the case initially emerged, Whitman recommended brief suspensions for Sparks and Cpl. Randy Murr, who was also involved in the incident.
But a furor ensued when videotape of the April 4, 2009 incident emerged and the case was reopened, paving the way for Monday’s decision. David Bruno, Sparks’ attorney, did not immediately respond to CBS4 inquiries on the firing recommendation.
The videotape — captured by one of Denver’s HALO surveillance cameras — showed Michael DeHerrera outside a LoDo nightclub, talking on a cell phone and Sparks then tackling the 23-year-old. Sparks then repeatedly hit DeHerrera.
Last year, Denver City Council agreed to pay DeHerrera $17,500 to settle a federal lawsuit.
Contacted by CBS4, Nick Rogers, a board member of Denver’s Police Protective Association, was irate over Monday’s termination decision. Rogers maintained that since Whitman’s initial decision, “Not one iota of evidence changed and nothing new emerged.”
Denver’s manager of safety now has 15 days to make a final decision on the employment fate of Sparks.