DENVER — Just one week after FOX31 Denver first aired a citizen’s videotape of a police officer punching a drug suspect in the face, then tripping his pregnant girlfriend, the Denver Police Department has given that same officer a promotion.
Charles “Chris” Jones IV is one of five officers who received a raise and new sergeant stripes on Wednesday during a ceremony.
The move has infuriated members of the Colorado Latino Forum, who say they shared a lengthy report with Denver Police commanders on that same day about the “ongoing culture of violence” within the department.
“It’s outrageous!” says Latino Forum member Lisa Calderon. “This takes us backwards. We have little trust left. It tells us that they are not listening and at a time of national outcry, what does it take to get them to be responsive?”
Both human resources records and Denver Police Commander, Matt Murray, confirmed the promotion to FOX31 Denver.
Murray said “There would have been nothing to preclude anybody from being promoted in this situation. DPD does not have a specific policy regarding when we would or wouldn’t promote someone.”
Murray also confirmed that Sgt. Jones is currently the subject of an internal affairs investigation. DPD is “proactively” reviewing new videotape, shot by a witness, during the August arrest of a pair of Honduran immigrants suspected of dealing drugs. Jones’ report said he punched the man in an attempt to get him to spit out a sock full of suspected heroin.
A series of “use of force” investigations against Jones last August ruled he did not violate policy.
However, the new videotape shows apparent discrepancies between the officers’ reports and the images captured on a bystander’s “tablet.”
The owner of the video, Levi Frasier, claims officers on scene threatened him with arrest if he did not turn over his video files. He says an officer “took the tablet over my objections without a warrant. Frasier said that when the tablet was returned, the video was missing, but he later recovered it from the Cloud and shared it with the FBI.