DENVER -- A Denver man says he might still be the one facing criminal charges if not for a HALO city camera that caught a Denver Police officer shoving Brandon Schreiber down some steps.
"It was my word against his. Without the video nobody would`ve believed me,” said Schreiber.
The 29-year old suffered two torn rotator cuffs after being pushed backwards by 12-year police veteran Choice Johnson, who has since been ordered to serve a 30-day suspension.
On the night of July 26, 2014, Schreiber was attending a bachelor party for his brother at the 1UP bar at 1925 Blake Street in LoDo. HALO footage outside the bar shows Schreiber’s brother in handcuffs, after bar bouncers say Matt Schreiber fell asleep at the bar.
Officer Johnson was about to take Matt Schreiber to a detox center when, according to his investigative reports, he said Brandon Schreiber tried to persuade the officer to release Brandon’s brother.
Officer Johnson told investigators with the Internal Affairs Bureau that Brandon, “Pushed his chest out in a defensive manner and told him (Officer Johnson) to get the F*** away and not to touch him. Johnson added Brandon supposedly told his brother “Hey, let’s just F***ing run.”
The HALO footage doesn’t include audio but Schreiber said he would, “never say anything like that to a police officer.”
Investigators for IAB pointed out in their report that the footage shows no one attempting to run and that Brandon’s hands were in his pocket when Officer Johnson suddenly steps up to Schreiber and forcefully pushes him backwards onto some steps.
That night Schreiber was booked for Police Interference and Resisting Arrest. The city attorney dismissed those charges seven months later, after prosecutors reviewed the footage. Brandon’s attorney, Siddhartha Rathod, said it’s Officer Johnson who should be charged with a crime. “If you or I did this we`d be in jail. We`d be in jail for assault and in jail for false information,” said Rathod.
Officer Johnson has sixteen commendations and six prior complaints that have been sustained.
Schreiber still wonders, given Johnson’s disciplinary record, why Officer Johnson was given a 30-day suspension. “If this person has the potential to do something like that, I don`t think he should be on the streets because he`s armed with a deadly weapon,” said Schreiber.
Officer Johnson is appealing his 30-day suspension, which begins Sunday, April 19. A spokesman for the Denver Police Department said the agency can’t comment because the suspension is under appeal.