DPD Chief: ‘Inaccuracies, Rumor And Tension’

Written by Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) – In an email to all members of the Denver Police Department, Chief Gerry Whitman says claims he ordered an officer fired in an effort to hang on to his job are “ridiculous and untrue.”

Whitman sent the email out to “the men and women of the Denver Police Department” last Friday afternoon. A copy was obtained by CBS4 and posted on the station’s website.

Most of the email deals with Whitman’s recommendation March 14 to fire Officer Devin Sparks. Sparks is the officer caught on videotape in 2009 throwing Michael DeHerrera to the ground in Lower Downtown as DeHerrera spoke to his father via cellphone. The police department initially recommended a three day suspension for Officer Sparks. Whitman says in his email that original recommendation came from Deputy Chief Michael Battista. But after the videotape of the incident emerged, public outrage followed and the case was reopened.

That led to Whitman recommending eight months later that Sparks be terminated. Denver’s Manager of Safety is currently contemplating whether to go along with Whitman’s recommendation or follow a different course.

“I did not make a recommendation on the DeHerrera case prior to my recommendation on Monday, March 14, 2011,” wrote Whitman. “Deputy Chief Battista made the original recommendation in July, 2010. Therefore, the accusation that I changed my opinion is not true.”

The DPD Chief went on to write that he did not consult with his Deputy Chief on the initial discipline given to Officer Sparks.

“Finally,” wrote Whitman, “there has been an accusation made that the ‘motive’ for my decision in the DeHerrera case was ‘… to help him retain his job when we get a new mayor …’ (Quote from a Detective Rogers TV interview). This claim is absolutely ridiculous and untrue,” wrote Whitman.

Whitman says he did not make his recommendation to fire Sparks based on pressure from “anyone outside of the Department and the media coverage did not influence my recommendations.”

On Monday, the Denver Police Protective Association held an “emergency meeting” to address the Sparks discipline. Asked what happened at the meeting, PPA President Nick Rogers texted “Nothn 2 report.”

Additional Resources

Read the email sent from Chief Whitman to Department members here.

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  • Douggie

    Nick Rogers, please quit trying to help me. Better yet, just quit. Since you joined the PPA board you’ve succeed only in tarnishing our image with the public. Quit saying “that’s what the guys want”. The truth is that it’s only what you and your fellow league of misery members want. You opposed certain parts of the corporal rank. You opposed the commander rank. You threatened a slowdown if Whitman was reappointed. You sued to get pay for officers putting on their uniform. Again Nick, bad timing and bad issue. Truth is, the PPA board opposes anything that comes from Whitman. He’s not the problem, Nick, you are. Now you support Keesee for chief of police. Another instance of bad judgement on
    your part. You guys are always wrong and come up short. Quit trying to help me Nick, please!

  • Will

    Sounds like the Chief is trying to do what’s right here and can’t seem to win as far as the Union is concerned. My cops friends tell me this is all about the Union trying to have some influence over the next Mayor and who’s going to run the department – hoping to instal their own brand, Dr. Keesee which wouldn’t be good for the department or Denver. Whoever that is I hope they continue to be ethical despite the grief that they get from this pack of thugs and maybe they should follow those folks in Wisconsin have started and get rid of Unions like this that are so far out of sync with the real world!

  • bear

    Looks like the Union is working well for DPD, NOT! Imagine that!

  • jonny5

    imagine another union cover up for its bad cops.

  • Martin

    The Unions only protect those whom can not do their jobs. If you work hard and do your work within the Standard Operating Procedures there should be no questions. The unions will take down the Police as they have done with the Auto industry. `

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