DENVER (CBS4) – The city of Denver on Monday approved a big payout to four women who were roughed up by police four years ago.
The financial settlement comes after the July 2009 incident in which police beat the women and sprayed them with mace. The situation was captured on one of the city of Denver’s HALO cameras, which are in place across the downtown area as a way for police to fight crime.
The total settlement is $360,000, and Ana Ortega told CBS4 she will gets about $44,000 of that.
Ortega said the payout offers her some closure, but the long term effects still remain.
“I’m still very fearful that I might run into one of these officers and he might remember who I am,” she said. “I’m fearful of the police, fearful of people who are supposed to take care of you. Who are supposed to protect you.”
The incident happened July 12, 2009. In the video from the camera Denver Police Officer Ricky Nixon is seen macing a woman being arrested outside of the Denver Diner at Colfax Avenue and Speer Boulevard. He then sprays mace at a gathering crowd and throws a handcuffed suspect.
When Officer Kevin Devine arrives he is seen shoving a woman to the ground while pulling on another woman.
Ortega was caught up in the middle of it.
“Money will be thrown at the problem but no one is actually addressing what the issues are and that is there is rampant and excessive force by the police department and nothing has changed,” Ortega’s attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai said.
Mohamedbhai specifically referenced Nixon, who was involved in the brutal beating of Alex Landau. The city also settled Landau’s case, and has now spent almost $1.2 million in alleged excessive force settlements involving him.
Both of the officers involved are still on the police force. They were initially fired but later were reinstated.
The Denver City Council approved the settlement on a unanimous vote on Monday. A statement released by the city attorney states: “The city supports the then former manager of safety who concluded the officers used inappropriate force during the Denver Diner incident.”