DENVER (CBS4) – A civil rights group is outraged over the decision to reinstate two Denver police officers who were fired after an ugly confrontation was caught on tape.
The Colorado Progressive Coalition held a demonstration in City Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. They marched with other victims of suspected police brutality.
The group is angry about the decision to reinstate the officers. They hope it’s a decision that will be appealed.
“When you watch the video, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I was in the middle of this,’ ” Miriam Pena said.
Pena is with the Colorado Progressive Coalition. She was also handcuffed against a wall of the Denver Diner as Denver police officer Ricky Nixon threw down handcuffed suspects and pepper sprayed a woman in the face, as seen in the video.
Another officer, Kevin Devine, is seen on the video confronting another woman and pushing her to the ground. The 2009 incident was all captured on a halo camera. Nixon and Devine were fired for filing inaccurate reports from that night, but will now return to the force after a civil service panel reinstated them.
“It’s going to happen again and they’re going to keep getting away with it. And that’s not okay,” Pena said.
“I think we need to certainly review our investigation,” Denver Police Chief Robert White said.
White says he’s confident the department looked into the incident fully. He says he’ll ask the Civil Service Board why they decided to reinstate the two officers.
The perceived use of excessive force against women has been a 2-year firestorm for the department.
“They didn’t do anything wrong. I watched the video, I went to their hearings, I defended them. They didn’t do anything wrong,” Denver Police Protective Association President
Nick Rogers said.
Rogers calls the ruling overdue. He says officers Nixon and Devine were well within their rights.
“When you look at the facts of this case, it never warranted termination,” Rogers said.
CBS4 asked a member of the board who reinstated the officers to comment on their decision. She never responded to the request.
The manager of public safety issued a statement saying he respects the authority of the Civil Service Commission, but will review the decision. He will then consult with the city attorney to decide if there should be an appeal.