No Repercussions For Denver “Heroes”

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The following story is interesting – revelatory – on several levels. But one in particular stands out: The “heroes” who were eventually found to have grossly violated the rights of their victims were not fired nor even demoted. Apparently, these state-sanctioned thugs are still “on duty” in Denver:

Denver ‘Attack Team’ targets wrong family, slams teen’s head through window

Police slammed a minor’s head through a glass window; choked and punched family members.

The Martinez family of Denver were brutalized during a no-knock police raid on their home.

DENVER, CO — A so-called ‘Attack Team’ negligently raided the wrong family and used violent tactics against a father and his three sons; choking and punching them, crashing a minor’s head through a glass window, and slamming them face first onto a sidewalk. The innocent family members were then maliciously prosecuted and threatened with the prospect of spending years in prison.

* * * * *

VIOLENT RAID

On January 27, 2009, the Martinez family of Denver — comprised of Daniel Martinez, Jr., Daniel Martinez III (21), Nathan Martinez (19), and Jonathan Martinez (16) — had settled in for the evening when there was an unexpected banging on their door shortly after 11:00 p.m.   A number of Denver police officers, representing the District 1 Special Crime Attack Team (SCAT), were outside demanding that the family open the door.

Responding to the shouting, family patriarch Daniel Martinez, Jr., opened the door slightly, but it was hooked using a bungee cord.  As he struggled to unlatch the door, he responded with “I’m trying” to the repeated demands to open up.  When the bungee cord was released, officers pushed the door open and rushed into the house, according to court documents.  The officers had no warrant and were not given consent to enter.

The intrusion quickly turned to violence, as gun wielding brutes used force to detain the the father and his three sons.

During the foray, sixteen-year-old Jonathan was aggressively grabbed by Officer Jason Valdez, spun around and slammed into a wall.   The officer then pulled him back and again slammed him face-first against a window, breaking the glass. The teen was then dragged outside and slammed face-first to the sidewalk and handcuffed.  The officer spun the 120-pound boy over and took the opportunity to punch him in the stomach, while handcuffed.

Nearby, Officer Bryce Jackson used a choke hold to drag Daniel III outside, then slammed him on the sidewalk, and handcuffed him face-down in the snow.

While Nathan Martinez exclaimed, “You can’t touch my brother, he’s a minor,” Sergeant Robert Motyka punched him in the mouth.  Nathan fell back on the couch, and the officer sprang on top of him to handcuff him.  Nathan demanded to speak to a sergeant, at which point Sergeant Motyka announced that he was a sergeant.

Daniel, Jr., had been forced to his knees and was handcuffed while his children were being assaulted.

MALICIOUS CHARGES

Police came to the realization that they had targeted the wrong family when their four victims were lined up, handcuffed, and no evidence of drugs or prostitutes was discovered.

As defense attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai noted in the Denver Westward, “[The officers] look around and realize they’re in a little family house, not a drug den. Then they ask everyone for their socials, and they’ve all got them; they’re all citizens. So they trump up this story that the kids attacked them once the police came in the house upon consent. That’s their version — that the dad let them in and the kids started swinging on these huge cops.”

The family members were all arrested and criminally charged with assaulting police officers. The charge of third-degree assault on a police officer carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison.

Charges against Daniel III and Nathan — neither of whom had a criminal record — were taken all the way to trial. A jury wisely acquitted both men on all charges during the January 2010 trial.

Charges against Daniel Martinez, Jr., and Jonathan Martinez were eventually dropped.

“The police story, once you dissect it, made no sense at all,” explained defense attorney Mohamedbhai. “There were inconsistencies of what happened, who was there, the sequence of events. It just wasn’t clear.”

Chief District Judge Marcia S. Krieger described the investigative basis of the raid:

Prior to the events at issue, a neighbor of the Plaintiffs raised a concern to Denver police of heavy foot traffic around the Plaintiffs’ home; the neighbor considered such traffic to be possible indicia or a drug or prostitution business being conducted out of the home.  Although the Plaintiffs contend that investigation into police and public records would have revealed that the Plaintiffs had only recently moved into the home (and, correspondingly, that a more troublesome set of prior tenants had recently moved out), the police did not undertake any significant investigation into the matter, other than deciding to go to the home and speak to the occupants.

According to Mohamedbhai, “the Martinez family moved into a house at 1263 Stuart Street in December of ’08, about a month before the incident went down. The police were, I suppose, working on stale information about the former tenants presumably being into drugs and prostitution and some bad stuff. But those guys had been gone for a while. According to the landlord, the house had stayed empty for five or six weeks prior to the Martinez family moving in.”

The Martinezes were “a family Mexican band,” according to their lawyer.  “They’ve even done fundraising for other law enforcement, like in Adams County. They’re good people. Nobody’s got criminal records.”

The Martinez family later filed a lawsuit, alleging excessive force, malicious and vindictive prosecution, and violations of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights “when [police] recklessly, knowingly, intentionally, willfully, and wantonly sought Plaintiffs’ arrests and instituted legal process against them by acting with knowledge that Plaintiffs had committed no violation of law.”

Named in the lawsuit as defendants were the City and County of Denver, Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman, Officer Jason Valdez, Officer Robert Martinez, Sergeant Robert Motyka, and Officer Bryce Jackson.

An internal investigation in the Denver Police Department determined that the complaint was “baseless” and the officers involved did no wrong.

* * * * *

FOLLOW-UP

In September 2014, a jury awarded the Martinez family $1.8 million for wrongful prosecution of the family members.

The lawsuit claimed that officers had violated the Martinez family’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights “when they recklessly, knowingly, intentionally, willfully, and wantonly sought Plaintiffs’ arrests and instituted legal process against them by acting with knowledge that Plaintiffs had committed no violation of law.”

As attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai noted, “there are serious constitutional protections in your home. And intruding into someone’s home at night without a warrant and beating up everyone inside — and then covering up your own bad acts — is egregious. And, of course, Denver’s internal-affairs bureau just whitewashed everything, which is no surprise.”

The lawsuit had alleged that excessive force had been used during the raid, but the jury was split on that issue.

None of the officers involved were subject to any meaningful discipline, termination, or criminal charges.

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. ‘Merika is taking a foolish risk, being openly unethical all the time. Millions of people will watch tonight’s Walking Dead episode; No Sanctuary.

    It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots and realize the Terminans are an allegory for some authoritarian alliance of evil or other. It sure shows the Myth of Authority in all its Boss Man with a clipboard before an assembly line human slaughterhouse glory, that’s for sure.

    Who is the good, the bad, the ugly, in your estimation? Are there some Authorities that are beneficial? How can you be sure there’s not a secret slaughterhouse somewhere back in the skunkworks of whichever authority you consider good?

    Spoiler alert!
    This episode recently aired. The following content and information on this page may contain major spoilers for those who have yet to watch it.

    No Sanctuary
    Season 5, Episode 1

    Air Date October 12, 2014
    AMC (United States)
    Fox (United Kingdom)
    Written By Scott Gimple

    “No Sanctuary” is the first episode of Season 5 of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

    Plot Synopsis
    The captive survivors plan their escape from the train car by fashioning weapons out of their clothing, jewelry, and wood. However, the Terminants planned ahead and used a smoke grenade to disorient them before opening the door. As preparations continue, they share updates on their missing loved ones.

    Daryl tells Maggie he ran after a car with a “white cross painted on it,” after Beth. “But she’s alive?” Maggie asks. “She’s alive,” Daryl says confidently.

    Meanwhile, four Terminus residents head toward them. Rick gives one final reminder to the gang. “You all know what to do: go for their eyes first, then their throats.” The Terminants drop gas into the car, confusing everyone.

    With gas masks on, the Termites finally head inside, grabbing and knocking out Rick, and dragging him, Glenn, Bob and Daryl to a trough, past dead bodies and three trash bins that read, “Burn. Feed. Wash.” Three other men from different cars are brought in too, including Sam. Sam and Rick lock eyes, but exchange no words before a bald man in a bloody apron knocks Sam out with a bat, while another grabs his lifeless head and slits his throat.

    Gareth walks in just before the duo reach Glenn. “Don’t do this. We can fix this,” Bob pleads. “We have a man who knows how to stop this. He has a cure. We just have to get him to Washington.” “Can’t go back, Bob,” Gareth replies, brushing the suggestion off. Gareth re-gags Bob and then asks Rick what he buried in the woods before entering Terminus.

    Rick doesn’t reply, until Gareth threatens to kill Bob. Rick finally admits of the bag’s contents, and a machete he’s going to use to kill Gareth. After laughing at this response, Gareth gets back to business, telling the human butchers they have two hours to get the bodies on the dryers before Terminus goes back to “public face.” A strange silence causes them all to pause. Then, an explosion rocks them all.

    “I’m gonna get you both there and make sure you’re safe, but I’m not gonna stay,” Carol tells Tyreese as they pass another Terminus sign on the train tracks. Just then, a walker emerges through the trees. “I can’t,” Tyreese says, taking Judith and letting Carol do the dirty work. “You’re gonna have to be able to,” she reminds him.

    After Carol takes care of the walker, they all hide down a small slope due to an approaching herd. It’s a bleak situation until gunfire in the distance attracts the walkers away from the trio. Carol and Tyreese realize they need a more cautious strategy. “We’ll be real careful. We’re gonna get answers,” she says, as they both wonder what the gunfire means.

    Outside of a small house in the woods, a man in a baseball cap is setting up fireworks. While talking to someone on the other end of his walkie-talkie, he mentions Michonne. “Alex didn’t get it. …I knew the chick with the sword was bad news. … I told Albert I want the kid’s hat after they bleed him out,” he laughs.

    His chuckle ends quickly as he feels a revolver on the back of his skull. “We’re friends of the chick with the sword and the kid in the hat,” Carol says. “We just have the boy and the samurai. That’s it. We were just protecting ourselves,” the man named Martin says, trying to reason with Carol and Tyreese after they tie him up inside the shack. He explains the Terminans were all going to set off their fireworks at the same time to scare the herd away. “Carol, how are you going to do this?” Tyreese asks her as Carol straps her gear on and gets ready to go in. “Gonna kill people,” Carol says, walking out and leaving him behind with baby Judith and Martin.

    Finding a dead, decaying walker, Carol coats a poncho in walker blood and her face in mud. Creeping toward Terminus, Carol reaches the fence, peering in just in time to see Rick, Daryl, Carl and Michonne tied up and dragged off. She loads the gun, takes aim at a tank and fires. The fence is blown up and the herd head in.

    Struggling to get upright following the blast, everyone in the Terminus human slaughterhouse is shaken. The butchers take their eyes off the ball just long enough for Rick to break free and kill them. Fearless Rick then helps his friends from their bonds. Quickly, they all gather weapons. Bob is just about to put his knife through a dead Terminan’s brain when Rick stops him. “Don’t,” Rick says. “Let him turn.” As they head outside, Rick reminds his group they are at war. “Cross any of these people, you kill ’em. Don’t hesitate. They won’t.”

    At the doorway to the courtyard, Glenn states that they have to save the other trapped survivors, nodding toward another train car. Running outside, they take down walkers and open the train car. “We’re the same!” screams a man who leaps out with long hair, a beard and face tattoos. As he cackles, a walker jumps him and devours him. Rick runs into the danger zone, crouching by the side of a car. Once the walkers pass and then the Terminans, Rick leaps into action, knocking the last man out, before taking his gun and shooting his captors. “We don’t have to double back,” Rick tells his group.

    Carol finds her old watch and Daryl’s crossbow, which she slings over her shoulder. “Drop your weapons and turn around. I want to see your face,” shouts Mary. Carol slowly slips off Daryl’s crossbow, turns and whips up the gun that was hidden under her poncho, firing at Mary, but misses. Carol and Mary brawl, the victor being Carol. “The signs, they are real. It was a sanctuary. People came and took this place. And they raped and they killed,” Mary explains. “But we got out and we fought and we got it back and we heard the message… You’re the butcher or you’re the cattle,” she adds.

    Carol asks after her friends. No reply from Mary prompts Carol to shoot Mary in the leg to try and get her to talk. “You could have been one of us,” Mary says. “You could have listened to what the world is telling you.” After another exchange, Carol gathers her weapons and heads off to find her friends, letting hungry walkers in to devour Mary.

    Walkers distract Tyreese long enough for Martin to jump up and grab Judith’s head. He orders Tyreese outside or he’ll kill the baby. Once Tyreese is outside, Martin gets on his walkie-talkie. “Cynthia, do you copy?” the man asks, shouting above the sounds of Tyreese fighting for his life. Radio silence follows. Suddenly, Tyreese breaks in and kills Martin, beating him to death with his fists.

    Stopping her weapon-making work, Sasha demands to know what the cure is in case things go south. Eugene doesn’t need to answer, his traveling companion Rosita says, defending him, but Sasha won’t give up. “I was part of a 10-person team at the human genome project that weaponized diseases to fight weaponized diseases.

    Pathogenic microorganisms with pathogenic microorganisms. Fire with fire. Interdepartmental drinks were had, relationships made, information shared. I am keenly aware of all the details behind failsafe delivery systems to kill every living person on this planet,” Eugene explains. “I believe with a little tweaking on the terminals in D.C., we can flip the script. Take out every last dead one of ’em. Fire with fire.”

    Rick arrives and sets everyone free. The group fight through walkers and Terminans. Rick takes aim at the Terminants, killing several and hitting Gareth in the shoulder, before Rick’s gang makes a break for it over the fence.

    “Right here,” Daryl says, pointing out the spot they buried the guns and supplies in. “Go along the fences. Use the rifles. Take out the rest of them,” Rick insists. “They don’t get to live.” His words surprise everyone. “Rick, we got out. It’s over,” Glenn says. “It’s not over ’til they’re all dead,” Rick states. Abraham states, “I’m not dicking around with this crap. We just made it out,” the man spits out. Maggie won’t budge either. Just then, there’s rustling in the woods. It’s Carol.

    Running to her, Daryl and Carol embrace. He lifts up her tiny frame, hugging her close. The moment hits Rick hard too, and he starts to smile, while Daryl backs up and gets misty-eyed. “Did you do that?” Rick asks. Carol nods. Cradling her head as he embraces her, Rick says simply, “Thank you.” Carol leads everyone to the shack.

    At the shack, Tyreese walks out holding Judith close. Overwhelmed and elated, Rick drops his gun and charges toward his baby girl. Grabbing his baby, Rick hugs her close, alongside Carl. Spotting Tyreese, Sasha runs over and jumps on her brother, tears streaming down her face. Standing back watching, there’s a moment of pain in Daryl’s eyes. He knows Beth won’t be coming out of that house.

    Seeing the smoke coming off of Terminus, Rick makes a decision. “We need to go,” he tells the group. “Yeah, but where?” Daryl asks. “Somewhere far away from there,” Rick says. Abraham and Rosita exchange a look. “We’ll talk to him,” Abraham tells Rosita.

    Back at Terminus, Gareth and the remaining Terminus residents are locked in the containers by the freed survivors. “We’re gonna take it back… We will,” he promises his people. “You’re either the butcher or the cattle.”

    In a post credit scene, Morgan finds the sign that Rick covered up, and begins to follow markings along trees left behind by unknown survivor(s)

  2. So the maggots responsible for this outrage walk away scot free (scat is appropriate as mentioned above), and the tax cattle get milked for the $1.8 million dollars; plus it took four years to reach that point. Only in Amerika!

    • “So the maggots responsible for this outrage walk away scot free”

      Hey! Haven’t you heard? That’s, The New American Way.

      …Er’, maybe it’s the old American Way?
      A.k.a., “Kill ’em All, and let God sort them out”?

      Blowback, is a Bitch.

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