Outgoing Independent Monitor: Denver Police Lie To Protect Themselves

DENVER (CBS4)– Police in Denver are being accused of lying to protect themselves. That allegation comes from the final report by the department’s outgoing independent monitor.

Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal said the report, released Thursday, has been a long time coming. He accuses police in Denver of becoming worse as the situation progressed and then dramatically so in the last year and a half.

Rosenthal said police actively worked to avoid negative reports, “It does appear to be an attempt, a deliberate attempt to protect officers from the imposition of severe discipline.”

In the report, Rosenthal criticizes not only the Denver Police Department but the internal affairs division. He said lying officers were protected from discipline.

“What we have here is an entrenched culture of circle the wagons, defend and justify bad conduct,” said Rosenthal.

The Independent Monitor’s Office reviews hundreds of cases. Sources told CBS4 that one instance occured during a string of violent attacks on the 16th Street Mall. In that case Denver Police Detective Paul Baca allegedly encouraged an attack victim to lie about a broken tooth, even though that victim had sustained the injury in a separate incident.

The report also states that Denver officers asked leading questions to show favorably on subject officers.

“I am alarmed and dismayed at the behavior of the independent monitor,” said Denver Safety Manager Alex Martinez.

He called the report reckless and offensive and said concerns raised by the outgoing monitor irrelevant.

“I characterize it as nit-picky. By that I mean he’s criticizing things that don’t affect the final outcome,” said Martinez.

DOMINIC DEZZUTTI’S BLOG: Rosenthal Reaction Will Push Hancock

Rosenthal said those details matter. He accuses the police department of protecting their own.

“The reality is it sends a horrible message to the Denver Police Department and the community and the justice system to suggest that officers can lie and stay on the job as a police officer,” said Rosenthal.

Rosenthal released this statement after Martinez’s news conference: “It is unfortunate that the Manager of Safety does not appear to understand the significance of the deficiencies in the Denver Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. As he is the ultimate decision maker for the Department of Safety, his failure to acknowledge there is even a problem is distressing and evidences a need for outside intervention. It is my opinion that the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division needs to open an investigation into the Denver Police Department as the Department has established its inability to protect the public from police misconduct, including violations of civil rights.”

Martinez then responded to that reaction: “If Mr. Rosenthal truly believes an investigation by the Department of Justice is warranted, he should have requested it before now and not as an emotional response to my remarks that his criticisms are unwarranted.”

  • Lilly

    Wait a minute… I am confused… Mr. Rosenthal calls for a federal investigation on his last day on the job??? What was going with investigations during the past 5 years he was there? I don’t know much about Mr. Rosenthal but in reviewing the quarterly/annual reports on his webpage I did not see any previous complaints of “inadequate” or “biased” investigations by Internal Affairs as he is alleging. If this was going on all along why was he not addressing them and making that information public?? Sounds to me like there is more going on or something happened within the city and he is not voluntarily leaving Denver.

    Interesting observation, a simple internet search of Mr. Rosenthal reveals several key phrases like “Overzealous Prosecution” and articles about large settlements the City of Los Angeles had to pay because of his “head hunting” efforts against police officers.

    Based upon this good riddance.

    • Geo.

      Lilly, I agree with your comments about “Overzealous Prosecution.” Could this be happening here? Are politics involved? Let’s see, cops are accused of brutality. The Original Manager of Safety sides with the officers. This is not the result that the city or media wanted, so the Manager is forced to resign. New Manager is appointed. Cops are fired. Media and every disgruntled citizen who’s ever got a speeding ticket or DUI is happy. Cops appeal their case to civil service and after the facts are reviewed civil service (an independent board) recommends re-in statement. Now the city wants to get rid of civil service. Sounds like the city wants total control. What is fair about trying someone over and over until you get the result you want. While the city tries to keep cop basher’s happy, decent citizens have to worry about being attacked by gangs on the mall. Imagine a great City!

  • bill

    Either you are a peace officer working to uphold the law for the people or you are a crook and a lier. Pick one and move on…

  • Bob

    I don’t know about the veracity of Mr. Rosenthal – seems to me he has overstated his case.

    I do know my son-in-law worked the 16th street mall at night as a security guard and some of his stories about police antics are truly shocking.

  • K

    Rosenthal sounds alot more like a disgruntled employee than an independent monitor. He did not get the Manager of Safety job that he applied for, so I am betting he got run out by the new major for his previous leaks to the media.

    Burning bridges is never a good idea Rosenthal, you just made yourself very unbelievable. Hope your new employer has second thoughts about your ability to view things fairly and without prejudice.

  • Mile Hi Mmj Patient

    For Rosenthal to say these things and request a Federal investigation shows that there is something more going on. The public is saddened by what the Denver Police has become since it allowed some bad apples to spoil the bunch.

    There are PLENTY of people that would LOVE to join the DPD. Why not clean your ranks? Don’t you want PRIDE in who you are? Make us proud of the DPD again.

  • eric

    What’s most frightening is that when these issues actually do hit media you embed them to false links……………….! tried to re-post and i got nonsense about the denver broncos

blog comments powered by Disqus
News Updates & Notifications

Listen Live

AM/FM Stations

Featured Shows & Multimedia