CALL7 Investigators Expose Police Misinformation

DPD Blames Bad Information On Miscommunication

A CALL7 Investigation discovered the Denver Police Department misleading the public when it released erroneous information about an attempted chemical attack on a union office building.

Around 10 a.m. on Monday Dec. 28, Denver police were called to the Denver headquarters of the Service Employees International Union on West Alameda.

Shortly after police arrived they found much of the first floor of the building covered in standing water, as well as broken glass jars containing mercury, or a similar liquid metal, and a second broken jar, sources say, labeled "chlordan."

Initial reports to 7NEWS were that vandals had broken into the building, but Denver Police spokesman John White later told KMGH that it was not vandalism and that a thermometer had fallen from a wall and broken.

In a recorded phone conversation, a 7NEWS producer asked White, "It was initially suspected as vandalism. It turned out to be like a wall thermometer fell on the floor and shattered ...?"

White replied, "You got it. That's it."

Nearly eight hours later White confirmed the department's story telling 7NEWS, "It was a nothing deal. It was a thermometer that was knocked off the wall."

The next day, CALL7 Investigator Tony Kovaleski went to the SEIU building and found three trucks from a cleaning company that specializes in removing hazardous materials and a Denver police car.

"There's a whole lot going on here over a thermometer," Kovaleski said to an SEIU employee.

She replied, "It wasn't a thermometer."

One of the men working for the cleaning crew told Kovaleski that there were several ounces of mercury mixing with water from a broken water pipe in the building.

A police report obtained by the CALL7 Investigators and filed less than three hours after the initial 911 call confirms Denver police knew it was a burglary and vandalism and still, several hours after the report was filed, Denver police maintained the incident was "nothing."

The police report reads, "Unknown suspects used a pry tool to force open the rear door to the business. Once inside the suspect(s) used a tool... on the water feed line to the water filter, in the process water began to spray."

The report continues, "The unknown suspect(s) dropped and broke a glass jar containing an unknown white powder substance and a glass container containing mercury or similar like liquid metal."

On Tuesday afternoon, the head of the Denver Police Department's public information office told Kovaleski the misinformation provided was not intentional and instead a communication breakdown and failure by the spokesman to do the required research.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and they are working to determine if the vandalism was random, an act of a disgruntled employee, or politically motivated.

SEIU has close connections to the Democratic Party and ACORN, which has been under scrutiny in several cities for inappropriate and illegal conduct by some of its workers.

In a written statement to 7NEWS, the president of the local SEIU said, "We have taken measures to increase security at the building so that it’s a safe place for the hard working, tax paying members of SEIU to come and work on issues that are important to them. We have a lot of hard work in front of us to restore and rebuild the middle class and we aren’t going to let potentially dangerous vandalism get in the way of the work that we are doing to improve the lives of working families in Colorado. We will not be intimidated or silenced."