In this particular case, Frank Lobato, a disabled 63-year-old man, was killed last July by Denver police officer Ranjan Ford. The Denver police officers were looking for Lobatoâ€™s nephew, Vincent Martinez, who was involved in a domestic violence case. According to reports, although the officers were told that Martinez was not in the home according to initial reports, they proceeded to enter the home by climbing a ladder and entering through a bedroom window; also with the knowledge that the disabled Lobato was in bed. Upon entering Officer Ford said that Lobato was sitting up in bed and had a shiny object in his hand â€“ which later was identified as a soda can â€“ and Officer Ford shot and killed Lobato in his bed.
In the most recent report of the case, the coronerâ€™s office indicated that Lobato was shot lying down and not sitting up as the Officer had first reported; and the alleged soda can was standing next to his bed.
Steve Nash of Cop Watch summed up the situation: â€œA man was killed and a cop lied.â€
Recently, Denver Manager of Safety Al LaCabe handed down a 90-day suspension to Officer Ford in the â€œaccidentalâ€ death of Lobato. Community members are outraged at the continued lack of discipline for officers involved in such atrocities across the city.
Last Friday, Denver CopWatch held a protest and rally at the Wellington Webb administration building, along with the Lobato family attorney, Kenneth Padilla. Protestors reminded Mayor Hickenlooper of the promises he made for police reform and accountability.
â€œThe City is not doing what it said it would do,â€ stated Padilla. â€œThere is a whole issue of accountability â€“ and this has left an indelible stain upon the Hickenlooper administration.â€
Padilla has continuously requested reports from the City over the past 13 months, despite the Mayorâ€™s promise to open availability in reviewing official reports. Last week. Padilla did receive an invoice from the City for $1,300 in order to receive the homicide report, initial offence reports, and the Internal Affairs Bureau reports.
â€œThese officials should do their job â€“ it shouldnâ€™t be that victims have to hire private attorneys to seek justice,â€ stated Padilla.
â€œThe police in this city are above the law and they know it,â€ said Vicky Nash, a representative of Denver CopWatch. â€œRegular citizens couldnâ€™t get away with this â€“ do you think we would get a three month â€˜suspensionâ€™,â€ asked Vicky Nash.
â€œThings have got to change â€“ and the choice for change is ourselves,â€ challenged Vicky Nash.