As mayor, Hickenlooper dealt with and responded to several instances of police brutality involving the Denver Police Department. Hickenlooper initially downplayed one such incident, claiming that the police officers accused of killing a man in custody didn’t commit murder. Later, in another setting, Hickenlooper flip-flopped and said that he believed that the police officers did in fact commit murder. Additionally, many individuals have expressed doubt over Hickenlooper’s recollection of the state of police-community relations within Denver during the period of time that he was Mayor.
- Senator Michael Bennet, who served as Hickenlooper’s chief-of-staff when he was mayor, recalls the “unjustified shooting of a black teenager named Paul Childs by law enforcement in Park Hill” and said that “nothing has changed” in the City and County of Denver since then.
- At a primary debate with Romanoff, Hickenlooper said the death of Marvin Booker was a murder, but stopped short of supporting efforts to reopen the case. Booker was killed by Denver jail deputies while Hickenlooper was mayor.
- In 2010 however, a Denver Post editorial wrote that Hick downplayed the incident, claiming that he believed the incident did not equate to murder.
- According to the Denver Post, Roshan Bliss, the founder of the Denver Justice Project, was not “sure what Hickenlooper meant by diversifying Denver’s police force.”
Bottom line: Police brutality persisted under Mayor Hickenlooper’s watch. His claims that he “doubled the diversity” of Denver’s police department simply don’t line up with the facts.