Detective pushing for investigation into Hancock

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DENVER -- The Denver City Council met in executive session on Tuesday night to discuss whether it will consider an investigation into Mayor Michael Hancock.

The council adjourned about 9 p.m. without making any comment.

Council president Albus Brooks said the city attorney would release information soon.

Denver Police Det. Leslie Branch-Wise is calling for a full and open investigation into the mayor’s alleged inappropriate behavior, saying that on behalf of the citizens of Denver, it’s the “best practice.”

Some community groups have charged Hancock with sexual harassment and called for his resignation after he sent inappropriate text messages to Branch-Wise in 2012 while she was a member of his security detail.

City Councilman Rafael Espinoza first called for an independent investigation into Hancock two weeks ago.

But that inquiry ended when Brooks announced the council did not want to risk the possibility of “re-victimizing” Branch-Wise in the process.

Then Branch-Wise came forward to say she wants an open investigation.

The council asked her legal team to outline all facts and allegations on the matter.

The council said it might reject an open investigation because sexual harassment claims are normally conducted in a confidential manner.

The council also pointed out it will take into consideration the previous settlement agreement between the city and Branch-Wise, where she received $75,000 and cannot sue anyone else in city government.

The letter from Branch-Wises’ legal team suggests, “Certainly, at the very least, the City Council could use its powers to ask the mayor to state, under oath, his intent when he wrote the subject text messages to Detective Branch-Wise. The council could also question Detective Branch-Wise under oath and then publish a public report of the investigation.”

“Mayor Hancock has taken full responsibility for his inappropriate texts from six years ago, including apologizing to Detective Branch-Wise," a Hancock spokeswoman said.

"City Council has also received detailed briefings from the city attorney's office, and the mayor will continue to be open, honest and transparent.”

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