DENVER (CBS4) – It’s been ordered that two Denver police officers fired in a highly publicized case for beating up a young man in LoDo get their jobs back.
The beating was caught on surveillance tape.
The firings of officers Randy Murr and Devin Sparks were overturned Tuesday by a three person panel of hearing officers for the Denver Civil Service Commission.
The panel ruled that the firings were improper because they had already been disciplined earlier even though that much lighter punishment had been rescinded.
The video of the incident combined with the light punishment at the time set off a public outrage. The officers were seen confronting then 23-year-old Michael DeHerrera. He was talking with his father on a cell phone at the time. Sparks was seen throwing DeHerrera to the ground and then striking him several times.
Both officers were initially given punishment involving loss of three days pay. That led to community meetings and protests that eventually led to the resignation of then Manager of Safety Ron Perea.
DeHerrera and his father, Anthony DeHerrera, met with the mayor, police chief and many others. Eventually the punishment was rescinded and new Manager of Safety Charles Garcia ordered the two officers fired.
The fired policemen appealed to the Civil Service Commission and now a panel has ruled they should be returned to their job with back pay.
“It’s horrible, a sad day, totally wrong,” Anthony DeHerrera told CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger. “If former Manager of Safety Ron Perea had made the right decision this wouldn’t have happened.”
Mayor Michael Hancock’s office told Sallinger the city attorney will appeal the decision.