DENVER (CBS4) – A man beaten unconscious by Denver police officers has lost his chance to tell the story in a federal courtroom. That’s despite the fact Alex Landau received one of the largest settlements in Denver city history.
Landau is now a young man on a mission. In 2009 he says three Denver officers beat him after a traffic stop. He says not only was he beaten, he believed he had a civil rights case that should’ve been heard in federal court.
A beaten and bloodied Landau insisted a Denver officer take pictures of him before doctors cleaned his wounds. Forty stitches and four years later, Landau says he suffers emotional and physical pain.
“My right eye is further sunk in than my left eye is, it’s lucky I can see out of it now. And even at night I’m woken up about these kinds of things,” Landau told CBS4’s Howard Nathan.
Landau had come from a party. He admits to smoking marijuana well before Denver police stopped his car over a disputed illegal turn. When police wanted to search his car he demanded to see a warrant. At that point he says three cops pounded him with fists and flashlights.
“After I had lost consciousness, face down in the gutter, I wake up to officers laughing about it; one officer saying, ‘You know, where’s that warrant now you (expletive and racial slur).’ ”
That racial slur prompted Landau to file a civil rights lawsuit. The city settled the case and gave him $795,000.
On Friday the Department of Justice told Landau that due to insufficient evidence it wasn’t moving forward with a separate investigation into whether some of the officers involved should be charged with crimes.
“I was numb about it at first,” Landau said.
An attorney for two of the officers told CBS4 “both officers are relieved and a cloud of suspicion has been lifted.”
But Landau believes the federal government missed a chance to make a statement about police brutality in Denver.
“This is a chance to make history for the city of Denver; the community members of Denver to prove once and for all that this kind of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated,” he said.
Landau is now an advocate for others accusing Denver of police brutality.
Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that Landau filed a federal civil rights case. Landau in fact filed a civil rights lawsuit that was settled by the city of Denver.