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Denver Police Find No Misconduct In 2009 Beating

DENVER (CBS4/AP) — A Denver Police Department review has found insufficient evidence to support allegations of officer misconduct in a 2009 beating.

The city released results of the review Friday and said they made their decision after using an unusual tactic: they reenacted the scene using actors.

Alex Landau says officers pulled him over and beat him after he balked at having his vehicle searched. He reached a $795,000 settlement with the city in 2011.

Denver's independent police monitor recommended no discipline for the three officers involved, though they've been reprimanded for failing to make complete reports, and no officers were charged. Two of the officers were fired over separate excessive force cases, but one was reinstated. The city is appealing the other officer's reinstatement by a civil service panel.

"There wasn't enough evidence there to find serious conduct on part of any of the officers," said Alex Martinez, Denver's Manager of Safety. "The decision to settle a case is not at all the same as the decision to resolve a case. A decision to settle a case is a business decision."

The decision aligned with the conclusion of the Department of Justice, Denver's DA and others. But police administrators says they independently weighed the evidence in part by conducting a reenactment in May 2012 of the events.

During the reenactment they walked through what witness accounts related and included how the officers thought Landau was trying to grab their gun. The demonstration also included the force that Landau says nearly killed him.

Alexander Landau
Photo of Alexander Landau's injuries (credit: CBS)

Denver Police Chief Robert White said they completely re-did the investigation and then reworked their entire disciplinary process.

"What I'm hoping our community understands is that we've made significant changes. That our goal is to be transparent," White said.

Landau says solidarity between the department and the community is a long way off.

"If that's what you're trying to build is a relationship, this isn't what it looks like," he said on Friday.

Independent monitor Nicholas Mitchell says he's disappointed Landau's allegation of racial bias by an internal affairs investigator wasn't investigated. Mitchell says the case shouldn't be closed until that issue is resolved.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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