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Rapid Response: Police Brutality Persisted Under Hickenlooper’s Mayoral Administration

October 13, 2020

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.
The Facts

  • 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.