Denver May Settle Police Beating Case Monday For $795K
Alexander Landau Beaten After Asking To See Search Warrant
12:33 AM, May 2, 2011
7NEWS has learned Denver City Council will vote Monday evening on whether to settle with a man who is suing over police brutality.If the Denver City Council approves the settlement, the victim, Alexander Landau, could be awarded $795,000.The original lawsuit accused the officers of stopping Landau, 19, after midnight on Jan. 15, 2009, for making an illegal turn, then calling him the N-word and beating his face and head with their fists, a radio and a flashlight until he was unconscious.The lawsuit contained photographs of Landau just after the incident with a blood-covered face and a swollen eye, wearing a neck brace.Landau, a student at Community College of Denver, was treated at the hospital for a broken nose, brain bleeding, a concussion, a hemorrhage in his right eye and head lacerations that required several dozen stitches, the lawsuit said.Named as defendants were officers Randy Murr, Ricky Nixon and Tiffany Middleton, who the lawsuit accuses of violating Landau's civil rights and engaging in "race-based police brutality." The police chief and city of Denver were also included as defendants.The officers also were accused of manufacturing evidence, claiming Landau attempted to grab an officer's handgun, the lawsuit said.It is important to stress, the settlement is not a done deal. Seven of 13 council members must approve it on Monday.No one is talking ahead of that vote.
Charges Against Student Dropped
The Denver District Attorney's Office eventually dropped all charges, including attempting to disarm a police officer, against the student.Landau was driving with fellow student Addison Hunold as a passenger about 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2009, when Nixon pulled him over for an illegal left turn, the lawsuit said. Landau did not have his license with him, but he gave Nixon his identifying information so the officer could look up his license.Nixon patted down both men and found marijuana on Hunold. The officer then searched the interior of the car.Then Murr and Middleton arrived.The conflict erupted when Nixon moved to search the trunk, the lawsuit said.
Search Warrant Request Triggers Clash
Landau asked if police had a search warrant as he "stepped toward the officers with his hands deferentially raised in the air, showing that he was not a threat," the lawsuit said.Murr grabbed Landau's left arm and Middleton clasped his right arm, the lawsuit said."Nixon then punched the restrained (man) in the face" and Landau fell to the ground, the lawsuit said.To provide cover for the "unprovoked attack," the lawsuit claimed, Murr falsely yelled: "He's going for the gun."Landau shouted, "No, I'm not!" the lawsuit said.In police reports, the three officers said they were unable to subdue the 5-foot-8-inch, 155-pound teenager, the lawsuit said.As the officers fell to the ground, Nixon wrote, "I began to strike Landau several times in the face with a closed fist, but it had no affect on Landau."Murr wrote: "Landau continued to try and reach for Middleton's gun and pull away from Nixon ... I stayed behind Landau and put my arm around his neck and attempted to apply the department approved carotid (chokehold). This did not affect Landau."I reached over and pulled Middleton's flashlight from her gun belt and struck Landau an unknown number of times in the head," Murr added in his report.The lawsuit said that an officer struck Landau with a radio and other officers arrived to join the "one-sided attack."Hunold yelled "stop" and "what the hell are you doing?" to no avail, the lawsuit said.At one point, the lawsuit said, Murr put his revolver to Landau's head and threatened to shoot him.Landau lost consciousness and awoke lying in a pool of his own blood, the lawsuit said."Where's that warrant now, you f------- n-----?" a male officer asked, according to the lawsuit.While the officers described Landau's uncontrollable "flailing and fighting," all three officers named in the lawsuit reported they had "no injury" in their Use of Force reports, the lawsuit said.Paramedics called about 20 minutes after the traffic stop reported finding a handcuffed Landau "lying prone on curbside," "bleeding from the head, hematoma" with lacerations and in "acute distress," the lawsuit said.
Victim Says 'He Did Not Do Anything'
"(Patient) STATES 'HE DID NOT DO ANYTHING,'" paramedics wrote in all capital letters in their report.After spending several days in jail, Landau filed an internal affairs complaint against the officers, the lawsuit said.Meanwhile, the lawsuit said, the officers accused of beating the student "conspired and/or acted in concert to have (Landau) falsely charged and prosecuted for criminal attempt to disarm a police officer."