Firing of Denver officer who brought AR-15, ammo from home is upheld

DENVER - The Denver Civil Service Commission has upheld the firing of a Denver police officer who armed himself with his personal AR-15 and loaded it with unauthorized full-metal jacketed ammunition and tracer rounds before accidentally shooting a bystander during a nightclub shooting.

The commissioners' decision involves former Denver Police Officer Robert Fitzgibbons and an incident that occurred outside the Club Vinyl nightclub in the early-morning hours of July 2, 2010.   The commissioners upheld a three-member civil service panel's finding that upheld his firing by then Manager of Safety Charles Garcia.

An investigation revealed Fitzgibbons violated a number of police department policies involving the use of personal weapons and ammo and his use of an AR-15 without completing a 40-hour DPD urban rifle training course.  Fitzgibbons had made several requests to take the course, all of which had been denied, the panel found. Fitzgibbons' supervisors testified that they denied his requests based on concerns about his judgment and decision-making.

The civil service panel found that Fitzgibbons' firing was not excessive, given the seriousness of the offenses.  The panel found his violations of department policy fell into a category where it is foreseeable that the officer's actions could have resulted in death or serious bodily injury.

The commissioners agreed with the panels' finding that Fitzgibbons' actions constituted "egregious misconduct" because they showed a willful and wanton disregard of DPD rules and a lack of integrity.  

"We find that the factual record provides ample support for the Panel's conclusion that or amounted to a willful and wanton disregard of departmental values, or which demonstrates a serious lack of integrity, ethics or character related to the officer’s ability to hold his position," the commissioners wrote in upholding Fitzgibbons' firing.

The woman who was accidentally shot by Fitzgibbons has nerve damage from the shooting and walks with some pain.

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