Denver mayor asks FBI to review videotape of alleged excessive force
August 17, 2010
by John Romero

DENVER - The City of Denver is asking the FBI to investigate a police beating in lower downtown Denver from 2009. Michael DeHerrera was talking on his cell phone as his friend was being arrested near the corner of 15th and Lawrence when the incident happened.

Officer Devin Sparks approach DeHerrera and quickly, seemingly without provocation, Sparks began throwing punches. And it was all caught on tape, by a police surveillance camera.

Denver's Independent Police Monitor Richard Rosenthal issued a report saying the beating was unjustified. He claims that Sparks and Corporal Randy Murr lied to cover up the attack.

"They said he clenched his fist and tried to strike the officer in the face, and none of that happened," Rosenthal said, dubbing the officer's account, pure fiction.

But Ron Perea, Denver's Manager of Safety disagrees saying that the false information was a result of bad memories. "There were misperceptions on the report, but I don't believe there was anything willful to do any lie or cover up," Perea told FOX31 News.

Perea said the video doesn't tell the whole story. DeHerrera and his friend had attacked one officer, prior to the video. The use of force was justified, he added.

Perea says he disciplined the officers after reviewing the entire case. He says DeHerrera fell and was injured when police tried to subdue him.

The FBI will be next to weigh in. But its recommendations are not binding. Perea has the final say.

Charges were dropped against DeHerrrea and his companion, 25-year-old Shawn Johnson. The city settled with DeHerrera for $17,500 and Johnson for $15,500.