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  1. #1
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    Jury: Denver cop not guilty of assault in head-slam

    9NEWS.com | Colorado's Online News Leader | Jury: Denver cop not guilty of assault in head-slam

    DENVER - After two hours of deliberation, a jury Tuesday found a Denver Police officer not guilty of using excessive force by slamming a man's face into the ground and breaking his teeth, even though the event was caught on videotape.



    The acquittal means that Cpl. Michael Cordova, who was hired in 2001, will get to keep his job. Cordova was charged with a felony which was later reduced to third-degree assault after he arrested a man on the Opening Day of the Colorado Rockies 2008 season while he was working with the vice-squad in an undercover scalping sting.

    "I am thrilled. I know that Officer Cordova is thrilled. The police officers that supported him throughout the trial are thrilled. They think justice was done today," Marc Colin, Cordova's attorney, said.

    "The video didn't quite carry the day, did it?" Denver Assistant District Attorney Chuck Lepley said.

    Heaney, who was riding his bike past Coors Field on his way to see his mother in a hospice, claimed Cordova and other undercover police officers pulled him off his bike, kicked, punched and beat him, then slammed his face into the ground, breaking two front teeth. He says all this happened while he was on his stomach about to be handcuffed.

    A sports video production crew caught the event on tape and gave it to 9Wants to Know, which investigated the case and talked to witnesses.

    Colin argued to jurors that the sound on the tape, and that witnesses say they heard, was not the sound of Heaney's teeth breaking, but rather the sound of a baseball hitting a bat during batting practice outside of Coors Field.

    The defense also called expert witnesses who said it looked like Heaney was resisting arrest on videotape and as a result, Cordova and other police officers were legally authorized to use force to take Heaney into custody.

    "Cordova acted within the duties of a police officer and within the scope of his training," Colin told jurors.

    The defense attorney also raised questions about the sports TV crew not providing the raw footage of the arrest immediately to the police department. The crew provided an exact copy first and the raw video of it was subpoenaed.

    "What were the witnesses trying to hide?" Colin said to the jury.

    Cordova did not take the stand in his own defense during the trial.

    In closing arguments Tuesday morning, Denver Chief Deputy District Attorney Doug Jackson argued that Cordova used excessive use of force on Heaney when Heaney was lying on the ground on his stomach and the officer pulled Heaney's hair up then slammed his face into the pavement.

    Jackson also argued that the defense paid witnesses to testify against Heaney.

    "The defense is saying you can't believe the sound or your eyes and that you can't believe what the witnesses told you," Jackson said as he simultaneously covered his ears, eyes and mouth with his hands. "Use your common sense and find him guilty."

    Cordova has been working a desk job at the police department during the trial, according to Colin.

    Heaney's attorney maintains that the video still clearly shows police brutality.

    "The police department and the DA have not given up on the belief that Heaney was somehow responsible. That's why they were half-hearted in their prosecution of this case," said Lonn Heymann, Heaney's attorney. "The other officers were never investigated, nor was the police officer's dishonesty during Heaney's criminal case. The prosecution simply did not use powerful evidence against Cordova that was available, including proof that the police story was fabricated."

    Heaney is still pursing a civil case against the police department, seeking damages for his injuries that he says were caused during the arrest.

    If you have any news tips, please e-mail 9Wants to Know investigator Deborah.Sherman@9NEWS.com.


    (Copyright KUSA*TV, All Rights Reserved)
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

    The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "121Traffic" on O/R.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 121Traffic View Post

    "The police department and the DA have not given up on the belief that Heaney was somehow responsible. That's why they were half-hearted in their prosecution of this case," said Lonn Heymann, Heaney's attorney.
    if they didnt think he was guilty or deserved to be prosecuted, they should have never fucking charged him. grow a spine and decline.
    in the warriors code there's no surrender, though his body says stop, his spirit cries...NEVER. deep in our souls, a quiet ember, knows its you against you, its the paradox that drives us all. its a battle of wills, in the heat of attack, its the passion that kills, and victory is yours alone.


    the posts and opinions stated by me do not in any way reflect the values, beliefs, or views of my department. they are simply opinions and/or observations which have been developed through my personal experiences. hell, most of the stories probably arent even true...wink wink

  3. #3
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    Glad to see the DA's office is looking out for the PD........oh wait, nevermind.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat

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  4. #4
    tapout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    Glad to see the DA's office is looking out for the PD........oh wait, nevermind.
    yeah, its like they have to put on a show for the public. bullshit
    in the warriors code there's no surrender, though his body says stop, his spirit cries...NEVER. deep in our souls, a quiet ember, knows its you against you, its the paradox that drives us all. its a battle of wills, in the heat of attack, its the passion that kills, and victory is yours alone.


    the posts and opinions stated by me do not in any way reflect the values, beliefs, or views of my department. they are simply opinions and/or observations which have been developed through my personal experiences. hell, most of the stories probably arent even true...wink wink

  5. #5
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    Absolutely. Granted, the video looks bad, but I think camera footage, from only one POV, are a bunch of bullshit sometimes. The only reason this went as far as it did was it was leaked to the media first...the city's trying to CYA rather than back up their cops.

    Too bad this guys will still probably end up having to switch PDs due to probably being on some shit lists at that DA's office.
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

    The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "121Traffic" on O/R.

  6. #6
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    After two hours of deliberation, a jury Tuesday found a Denver Police officer not guilty of using excessive force by slamming a man's face into the ground and breaking his teeth, even though the event was caught on videotape.
    This part pisses me off. Its evident to me that the media has already tried the officer and found him guilty
    'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
    delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
    promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
    holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
    possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'

    A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. Sigmund Freud

  7. #7
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    I know this is kind of off the subject, but did anyone notice the guy with the white shirt pick up the bicycle and walk away with it?

    Was that sound his head or was it really a baseball being hit at that exact moment, it was an awful sound.

    My dad, I miss him every day.

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    Life is too short to wear unsexy underwear.


    I am a female!!!!! LMAO

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    And those that mind...don't matter

  8. #8
    121Traffic's Avatar
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    Another article. This one from a juror. Good stuff.

    9NEWS.com | Colorado's Online News Leader | Juror in officer's assault trial: Off-camera incident key

    DENVER - It took jurors just two hours to find Denver Police Officer Michael Cordova not guilty Monday. Now, one of them tells 9NEWS their decision was based largely on the very videotape that got him into trouble in the first place.



    The tape of the scuffle between Cordova and John Heaney was taken on Opening Day of the 2008 Colorado Rockies season outside Coors Field. The tape was originally given to 9Wants to Know.

    In the video, it appeared that Cordova drove Heaney's face into the ground, breaking two of his teeth, after Heaney was already on the ground with his hands behind his back.

    At the time, Heaney was facing assault charges in the incident. When our investigators showed the tape to Denver Police and the Denver District Attorney's office, those charges were dropped and Cordova went on trial instead.

    Greg Bittle was one of the jurors who unanimously found Cordova not guilty.

    "Almost immediately we took an initial vote and I would say 99 percent it was 'not guilty' all around the room," Bittle said.

    Bittle told 9NEWS when he first saw the video of the scuffle, he was shocked.

    Then Cordova's defense team played the video in slow motion, and what Bittle saw there changed his mind about the incident.

    "Frame by frame, aspect of the video and that was extremely telling because it appears to be just a one up and down motion, but when you see that snippet in slow motion, it is more of a rotating [motion] and with Mr. Heaney's head probably hitting on the side, rather than directly face to asphalt," Bittle said.

    Bittle says beyond the tape itself was an incident not captured on camera in which Heaney provoked Cordova.

    "Mr. Heaney struck Officer Cordova, and it's debatable if it was an actual punch or if he just slapped him or knocked his hat off," Bittle said. "But even Mr. Heaney acknowledges that he did initially assault or have his hand interact with the officer's face."

    In a statement to 9NEWS, Heaney's attorney Lonn Heymann said, "We absolutely respect the jury's verdict, but look forward to the civil rights case where the jury will hear about much more. All of the charges against Mr. Heaney, including assault, were dismissed. Keep in mind that Denver law enforcement prosecuted this case. In the civil rights case the jury will hear Mr. Heaney's perspective."

    Denver Police says it is still conducting an internal investigation into the incident. Cordova is in an administrative position at this time and not on the street.

    Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey released this statement Wednesday: "We believe in our case. We believe that it is our mission to attempt to hold people accountable for what we believe is criminal behavior."


    (Copyright KUSA*TV, All Rights Reserved)
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

    The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "121Traffic" on O/R.

 

 

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