Denver cops Devin Sparks and Randy Murr
were fired on Friday, nearly two years after they delivered a severe
beating to Michael DeHerrera, a gay man, and lied about it, the
Denver Post reported.
The police officers were terminated for
perpetrating “deceptive acts.”
“We cannot and do not tolerate
dishonesty in any safety agency,” Manager of Safety Charles Garcia
told reporters during a news conference at city hall. “We do not
and cannot tolerate excessive force in any safety agency.”
The men lost their jobs over an April
2009 incident when DeHerrera and his partner, Shawn Johnson, were
detained by police after Johnson was ejected from a bar for using the
After officers had subdued and
handcuffed Johnson, DeHerrera, standing several feet away on the
sidewalk, called his father on his cellphone, prompting Sparks to
turn his attention from Johnson, who was laying face-down on the
street, to DeHerrera.
Murr and Sparks said in their police
reports that force was required in arresting the two men.
But a city surveillance camera showed
Sparks going after DeHerrera as he's talking on the phone. Sparks
throws him down on the street, beats and handcuffs him, and then
places him in the back seat of his cruiser.
DeHerrera says he blacked out and only
remembers waking up the next day in a Denver hospital.
In a 2010 appearance on ABC's Good
Morning America, DeHerrera's mother, Denise DeHerrera, described
her son's condition this way: “His head was three times the size
it normally is, it was lopsided, he had stitches, his teeth were
chipped, he was basically covered from head to toe in bruises, his
eyes were blackened, his nose was covered in blood.” (The video is
embedded in the right panel of this page.)
More disturbing was the fact that the
surveillance camera pans away from the scene just as Sparks begins
his beat down.
The family settled with the city for
$17,500 in 2009 but continued to push for the officers' dismissals.