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Alex Landau Narrative

Alex Landau Narrative

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Published by Michael_Lee_Roberts

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Published by: Michael_Lee_Roberts on Apr 05, 2013
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ALEX LANDAU CASE NARRATIVE/P2009 01 045 PRESS SUMMARY Consistent with the conclusion of the former chief

of police, the recommendation of the previous independent monitor, the recommendation of the former acting independent monitor, the recommendation of the current independent monitor, and the conclusion of the current chief of police, as well as the separate decisions of the Denver District Attorney and the United States Department of Justice that there is insufficient evidence to make any criminal accusations against any officers, the Manager of Safety determines there is insufficient evidence to sustain any allegations of inappropriate force, racial slurs or deceptive conduct by Officers Ricky Nixon, Randy Murr and Tiffany Middleton for the incident with Mr. Alexander Landau. Other than reprimands by the Chief of Police for failure to make complete reports, no disciplinary action is taken against any of the involved officers. THE TRAFFIC STOP Mr. Alexander Landau was the driver of a vehicle stopped for an illegal left-hand turn in the early morning of January 15, 2009 in the vicinity of East Colfax Avenue and Downing Street.
Mr. Addison Hunold was the passenger in Mr. Landau’s vehicle. The Denver Police Officers involved in the traffic stop were Officer Ricky Nixon and Officer Tiffany Middleton. Officer Randy Murr arrived at the scene later when a search of Landau’s vehicle occurred. Landau and Hunold had been drinking and smoking marijuana immediately before they were pulled over. Nixon and Middleton smelled marijuana in the vehicle and asked Landau for permission to search his vehicle. Landau consented. As Nixon was about to open the trunk, which contained over 106 grams (3.7 oz) of marijuana, Landau began approaching the officers and the trunk. Officers and Hunold describe Landau as upset and moving rapidly with his arms raised and flailing. Officers and Hunold say that when officers grabbed Landau’s arms to restrain him, he resisted and struggled. Hunold said he yelled, “Chill, man!”

THE STRUGGLE As officers were attempting to restrain Landau, Middleton tripped on the curb and fell to the ground, bringing Landau and the other officers with her.
Middleton landed on her back and Landau fell on top of her, and the two were face-to-face. Landau was pinned in this position by Nixon and Murr who end up on top of him, one on each side. While officer descriptions of Landau’s movement differ somewhat based on their varying positions and opportunities to observe, officers consistently state that they believed Landau was making arm and hand movements toward Middleton’s gun. Records show that this belief was relayed by radio and that Hunold heard one of the officers yell, “He’s going for the gun!”

Landau alleges he approached officers passively; calmly raising his arms to his side and taking a couple of steps, and that officers grabbed him and began punching him. Officers state Landau was not struck until all four were on the ground and Landau was reaching for Middleton’s firearm. Hunold’s initial account is consistent with officer testimony, but he later changes his account and becomes consistent with Landau’s. In a deposition, Hunold says he is not sure what happened. Landau first says that as they fell to the ground, Middleton was striking him with a radio. Later, he claims this happened while they were on the ground. Both statements are contrary to Middleton’s statements. Landau denies struggling or reaching for Middleton’s firearm. Landau also claims the officers made racial slurs during and after the incident. Officers consistently state they did not make or hear anyone use a racial slur before, after or during the incident. Hunold has been inconsistent in his statements regarding this issue, most recently stating he did not recall that happening.

ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS Landau’s allegations are supported only by some of Hunold’s later statements. Hunold’s initial statements, and some of his subsequent statements and deposition testimony, generally support the account of the incident given by the officers.
Physical evidence, including Landau’s injuries, is consistent with all accounts of the incident and is not ultimately helpful to the determination. After consideration of the number of witnesses, the consistencies and inconsistencies of their statements, the possible motives and biases of the witnesses, and all other circumstances, the weight of the evidence is not sufficient, by a preponderance, to sustain the allegations of misconduct made by Landau. Specifically, there is insufficient evidence to support a conclusion that the officers’ beliefs that Landau was reaching for the gun were not reasonable. By Colorado law, officers are legally authorized to use physical force to thwart what they reasonably perceive as a serious physical threat, as long as such force is not “inappropriate force.” There is evidence that officers used commands, engaged in efforts to restrain Landau and used their fists to strike Landau before resorting to the use of the flashlight and subsequently a firearm. The preponderance of evidence does not show that the force which was used was “inappropriate force” in violation of department policy. The differing accounts of the witnesses fall short of sufficient evidence from which to conclude by a preponderance of evidence that any of the officers made racial slurs during this incident. There is insufficient evidence from which to conclude by preponderance, that the officers engaged in any deceptive conduct. The officers are generally consistent in their accounts of this incident. The variations that exist are likely attributable to four people scrambling on the ground with different perspectives and abilities to perceive. Finally, there is no evidence suggesting the officers engaged in any cover up.

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