Video footage obtained by the Denver Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau does not show any corroborating evidence supporting claims of excessive force against mayoral candidate Terrance Roberts in 2020, according to Denver authorities.
A lawsuit filed by Roberts claims Denver law enforcement used excessive force when they pepper sprayed him during the racial justice protests of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota at the hands of former police officer, Derek Chauvin. Roberts’ lawsuit alleges the city violated his First Amendment rights by doing so.
According to Roberts, on the day of the protest, he was not engaging in any unlawful acts. “We were just making noise, beating pots and pans. I had a bullhorn just saying, ‘We want justice. No justice no peace,” said Roberts in the complaint. “To them, of course, it was irritating and we were irritated by them too, of course.”
He continued, “We were walking behind a group of protesters from their side and they had police walking with them and the law enforcement officer looked at me and he just walked right up to me and sprayed me in the face with pepper spray.”
Upon reviewing footage from the protests, however, the IAB says there was no video evidence showing Roberts at all, let alone evidence of the alleged excessive force against Roberts.
“The Denver Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau received a complaint regarding an alleged inappropriate use of force against Mr. Roberts,” the department said. “The IAB reviewed available video based upon the date, location and time provided. Mr. Roberts is not seen in the video when the officer deploys pepper spray.”
“I’m not against law enforcement,” said Roberts. “I’m against law enforcement hurting people and abusing their constituency and getting away with it.”
Attorney for Roberts, Mari Newman, says the city is sending mixed messages regarding the availability of video evidence. She says the response to the footage is “inconsistent with the response it provided to our request for videos under the open records laws, which was that ‘no recordings of the referenced incident were located.'”
Newman also told the Denver Gazette she is in possession of video footage showing Roberts being directly targeted by police on the day in question.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LOCALTODAY.NEWS
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