Another 'Police Beating' Video Raises Numerous Questions

Suspect Has Criminal Record, But Says Police Were In Wrong

Another video showing possible Denver police brutality is raising numerous questions about the use of force and has prompted an investigation by Denver's independent police monitor.

The latest video shows Mark Ashford walking his dogs by a traffic stop near 20th and Little Raven streets in Lower Downtown on March 16.

Ashford said he told a driver, who was stopped by police, that he would testify on the driver's behalf. ()

On the video it looks like Ashford is trying to take a photo with a cell phone and that's when the officers took hold of him. The 32-year-old started to struggle as officers put his hands behind his back and one officer can be seen hitting him.

Ashford's attorney, William Hart, released a statement saying "It should be understood that not many police officers act as depicted on this video. We have a lot of good officers in our city. However, people should rightfully expect that our police department has been put in place to protect us, not hurt us."

Joseph Sandoval, a professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Metro State University, said the video shows the officers escalated the situation.

"In terms of ethical behavior and training, it doesn't seem to me that what I saw is what police officers are trained to do," said Sandoval.

Police said Ashford has a lengthy criminal record including charges of DUI, assault and false reporting.

However Ashford told 7NEWS that doesn't matter. What's important is the apparent brutality documented on the videotape.

Ashford said what happened on the video is a normal occurrence in Denver.

"The video speaks for itself," he said.

There is no audio on the tape so it is impossible to determine what was said between Ashford and the officers. At one point it appears as if Ashford is yelling at the officers.

It is also clear Ashford did try to break from the hold. It is after that spin, that the situation escalates and the officers start hitting him.

The city's independent law enforcement monitor, Richard Rosenthal, is investigating Ashford's complaint.

The Denver Police Department declined to comment on Ashford's complaint because the incident is under review.

Another Video Shows Police Beating

The new video comes just two days after the Call7 Investigators uncovered video showing police slamming a man to the ground -- an incident that has prompted an FBI investigation.

The police video shows Michael DeHerrera talking on his cell phone as a friend, 25-year-old Shawn Johnson, was being arrested in Denver last year. DeHerrera, 24, said he called his father, a veteran sheriff's officer, in distress.

The father, Anthony DeHerrera, told CBS' "The Early Show" Wednesday that he heard someone say: "We have to get rid of the phone, they're recording us." He said he heard the phone drop, some obscenities and then a thud.

The video shows an officer slamming Michael DeHerrera to the ground, but then the camera moves back.

Two officers were disciplined but the city's independent law enforcement monitor released a report Monday saying they should have been fired. Richard Rosenthal's report said he believes the video shows a different story from the officers' accounts.

Rosenthal is at odds with Denver Manager of Safety Ron Perea, who said the video doesn't show the whole story and he stands by his decision on disciplining the officers.

Sandoval, who has three decades of experience in police oversight, said he sees nothing in the DeHerrera video to justify the use of force.

"You have to wonder. Is everyone looking at the same thing? I just don't know," Sandoval said.

The FBI has agreed to investigate the incident at Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's request.

7NEWS has looked into all of the liability settlements approved by the city council, related to the actions of the Denver Police Department, and learned that the payouts have totaled more than $3 million since 2007. The payouts include everything from major car accidents with injuries, to use of excessive force to wrongful death.

    2007: At least 9 settlements/payouts - $1,111,750 2008: At least 9 settlements/payouts - $1,248,000 2009: At least 10 settlements/payouts - $410,700 2010: At least 6 settlements/payouts to date - $355,000

The city council must approve any settlements or payouts over $5,000.