Two Denver Cops Fired in Beating Reinstated

Two Denver police officers who were fired over a beating that was caught on surveillance video have been reinstated.


DENVER --

Two Denver police officers who were fired over a beating that was caught on surveillance video have been reinstated.

7NEWS confirmed officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr got their jobs back, after going through the civil appeal process. The decision was made Tuesday by a panel of the Denver Civil Service Commission.

They were accused of beating Michael DeHerrera in Lower Downtown Denver in April 2009.

In response to this decision, Manager of Safety, Ashley Kilroy said:

"I cannot and do not tolerate excessive force in our city's safety agencies or departing from the truth by any of our employees. I stand by Manager Garcia's decision to terminate Officer Sparks and Officer Murr and I do not agree with the Hearing Officers' decision to overturn their termination. However, I respect the process that led to that conclusion and will support the city attorney's office's determination of next steps."

Sparks and Murr will undergo the reinstatement process and will be placed in desk assignments upon their return, Kilroy said.

Anthony DeHerrera, Michael's father, told 7NEWS, "We are very shocked, disappointed (and) appalled," by the reinstatements. "I'm very scared for (my son's) safety, with these two thugs back on the street."

DeHerrera's father is a police officer in Pueblo.

7NEWS broke the story in 2010 and was the first to air the videotape of the April 4, 2009 beating.

A police video of the incident shows Michael DeHerrera standing on a corner, talking on a phone for some time while police arrest his friend, Shawn Johnson, 25.

The tape then shows Sparks grab DeHerrera and take him to the ground, but the video pans wide as officers subdue DeHerrera. After the camera pulls to a wide shot, officers can be seen hitting DeHerrera, but it is impossible to tell if DeHerrera is struggling.

The video zooms back in as police lead the bloodied suspects to a police car.

The city settled with DeHerrera and Johnson for a total of $15,500, and photographs in the case show injuries to DeHerrera's face.

Murr was suspended for three days without pay for violating a provision requiring truthful and accurate information in police reports, and Sparks was fined 24 hours for the same violation, records show.

A variety of charges against Johnson and DeHerrera, including assault and resisting arrest, were dropped.

"I talked to the two officers," said Nick Rogers, President of the police officers union. "And they are as happy as a person can be."

He said the firings were "based on a political outcry."

 

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