Community reminds city officials of unkept promises

A force of accountability is looming over Denver’s shiny image created by Mayor John Hickenlooper, police department officials and city council members, as community members demand stronger action by those with authority to reprimand Denver police officers who “accidentally” kill innocent people.

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 Lobato’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 – which later was identified as a soda can – and Officer Ford shot and killed Lobato in his bed.

In the most recent report of the case, the coroner’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: “A man was killed and a cop lied.”

Recently, Denver Manager of Safety Al LaCabe handed down a 90-day suspension to Officer Ford in the “accidental” 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.

“The City is not doing what it said it would do,” stated Padilla. “There is a whole issue of accountability – and this has left an indelible stain upon the Hickenlooper administration.”

Padilla has continuously requested reports from the City over the past 13 months, despite the Mayor’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.

“These officials should do their job – it shouldn’t be that victims have to hire private attorneys to seek justice,” stated Padilla.

“The police in this city are above the law and they know it,” said Vicky Nash, a representative of Denver CopWatch. “Regular citizens couldn’t get away with this – do you think we would get a three month ‘suspension’,” asked Vicky Nash.

“Things have got to change – and the choice for change is ourselves,” challenged Vicky Nash.
Toni Frésquez

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