Like the dumbass Miami cops who went after a gay tourist while he was on the phone with 911 (which was recording the whole thing), two Denver cops have been fired, finally, after their videotaped beating of a gay man. With Cpl. Randy Murr next to him, Officer Devin Sparks was recorded throwing Michael DeHerrera, then 23, to the ground while DeHerrera was on his cell phone with his father, a sheriff’s deputy. Sparks then proceeded to beat DeHerrera with his police-issued baton, knocking DeHerrera unconscious, the Denver DA decided not to file criminal charges against the officers, and an independent reviewer of the case recommended firing both men — for filing false reports, not for excessive force. That’s because Sparks claimed in his report DeHerrera tried to hit him, and he responded in self-defense. DeHerrera denied the claim, and the videotape proves him right.
So what the hell happened that cops would even go after this man? Fox/KDVR explains:
On April 4, 2009, DeHerrera was talking on his cell phone as his friend was being arrested near the corner of 15th and Lawrence. Officer Sparks approach DeHerrera and quickly, seemingly without provocation, Sparks began throwing punches and threw DeHerrera to the ground. The incident was caught on video by a police surveillance camera. DeHerrera later claimed police brutality and Denver’ independent police monitor agreed. Richard Rosenthal issued a report saying the beating was unjustified and alleged that Sparks and Corporal Randy Murr lied to cover up the assault. “What we said and what people saw in the video is now what will be. It’s not going to be a question anymore,” DeHerrera said. “What happened happened, and we told the story that we did cause it was the truth.”
“We cannot and do not tolerate dishonesty in any safety agency which is why it holds the most severe penalty in the discipline matrix,” said Garcia. “Honesty, integrity and accountability are core values of the Denver Police Department. We are entrusted with the public’s confidence and that requires incorruptible character, fair treatment of all people and truthfulness in all of our officers.”
And why was DeHerrera’s companion, Shawn Johnson, arrested? Because he used a women’s room at a nightclub. Ahem.
The pair, who saw charges against them dropped after the videotape was released, settled a civil rights lawsuit with the city for a paltry $17,500.
As you can see plainly in the video, DeHerrera was not attempting to interfere with the arrest, nor did he appear to be provoking the officers in any way (though we can’t hear what he might have been saying). The assault already claimed the job of Denver Manager of Safety Ron Perea, who resigned/was pushed out after a year’s worth of furor over the police beating.
From a August 2010 Good Morning America report, where his mother explains the horrific way her son looked in the hospital.