Judge allows abuse suit against Denver, police department

DENVER - A federal judge has given the go-ahead for a lawsuit filed by four women against the city of Denver alleging a culture of abuse and cover-ups in the police department.

The lawsuit stems from a 2009 scuffle involving two officers. Surveillance video showed one officer shoving women to the ground while another sprayed mace in a woman's face and into a crowd.

 

"They hurt us that night." said Ana Ortega, one of the women suing the city.

7NEWS reviewed a copy of the summary judgment and found the judge ruled the suit could proceed because there was sufficient evidence that Denver police aren't adequately trained in use of force, that allegations of excessive force aren't investigated and that police tolerate a code of silence surrounding abuse.

 

"It's not just something that goes away," said Sharelle Thomas, one of the women injured. "Finally, we'll be able to the opportunity to share what happened to us."

"We hope Denver takes this seriously,” said their attorney Siddhartha Rathod. 

"It's a long time coming.  And the best thing is just like a sigh of relief," said Thomas.

The judge's order wasn't a finding of guilt against the city. That issue will be determined in a trial.

City officials declined comment.

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