The father of a police brutality victim in Denver slammed Gov. John Hickenlooper on the governor’s Facebook page, hoping that the events unfolding in Ferguson, Mo., will reignite interest in his son’s case.
Anthony DeHerrera’s son Michael was brutally beaten by Denver police while standing on a street corner talking on his cell phone. He was thrown to the ground and hit repeatedly by officers, whose actions were caught by a nearby traffic camera.
Hickenlooper — then the mayor of Denver campaigning for governor — called for an investigation into the police’s actions by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but DeHerrera wondered whether it was just a campaign stunt.
“[W]hy have you ignored us and our son’s beating,” he wrote on Hickenlooper’s official Facebook page. “Was it really just a ploy for you to get votes while running for governor?”
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DeHerrera, who is a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputy, wrote that Hickenlooper ignored his calls for a criminal investigation while Hickenlooper was mayor and only expressed interest in his son’s case when he began his campaign for governor.
“I think you did this just to get votes swayed your way, but besides the point, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the FBI and DOJ to finish their investigation,” he wrote. “It is almost five years now since I gave the FBI the beating video of our son … most recently when I call I just have to leave messages that are never returned. Where have you been on this situation with our son and WHERE ARE YOU NOW?”
Michael DeHerrera and a friend were arrested outside a Denver nightclub after the friend used the nightclub’s women’s restroom, according to the Denver Post. Officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr were initially given a light punishment for lying about their use of force, but then suspended and later fired after public outcry in the wake of the video release. It’s unclear if the FBI/DOJ investigation is still ongoing.
A spokesman for the governor’s office told Denver’s 9News “it would not be appropriate for the governor to comment on or meet with anyone involved” in the case because the investigation belongs in the jurisdiction of the City and County of Denver.
DeHerrera told the station that he spoke out on Hickenlooper’s Facebook page because the events in Ferguson — in which protestors clash nightly with police in the wake of the police killing of an unarmed teenager — have brought renewed attention to alleged police abuses.
“My son’s case made national news, too, and nothing’s happened,” he said. “People just give up and go on with their lives,” he said. “We keep telling them we’re not going anywhere, but how long is this going to take?”
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