DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver police officer has been indicted by a grand jury after injuring multiple bystanders while shooting at a man in Lower Downtown this summer. The shooting happened on July 17 when officers tried to stop a man after a fight in the street near 20th and Larimer streets.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced on Aug. 16 that an investigation was launched into the officers’ involvement in the shooting.
The DA’s office said 17 witnesses and 140 exhibits were reviewed to decide on Officer Brandon Ramos’ indictment. A criminal case has been opened in Denver District Court.
“I want to thank the members of the grand jury who have spent many days over the last several months listening to testimony and examining exhibits,” McCann said. “This is a very serious matter and I appreciate the time and attention each of them devoted to this important decision. The case will now move forward in the courts.”
McCann’s office found the other two officers involved in the shooting were justified in their actions and have been cleared of any indictment by the grand jury.
Officers shoot at suspect after fight
Around 1:30 a.m., police allege Jordan Waddy was part of an altercation at 20th and Larimer streets and when officers approached to break up the fight, Waddy allegedly made a motion and police said they suspected he had a gun. Police shot multiple rounds, which injured Waddy and six bystanders.
Officers recovered a loaded firearm from the scene.
McCann charged 21-year-old Waddy with three counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender and one count of third-degree assault.
Why Ramos was charged and other officers were cleared
According to the indictment obtained by FOX31, a grand jury found officers Kenneth Rowland and Meghan Lieberson, who were involved in the shooting, did not put anyone in danger when they fired their weapons.
The document explains Rowland and Lieberson were directly in front of Waddy “when he began to pull the firearm from his hooded jacket.”
“Officer Rowland fired his firearm four times and Officer Lieberson fired twice, both in the direction of Waddy. From these officers’ view, a brick wall and the front of the Larimer Beer Hall were behind Waddy and no persons were behind Waddy. No one was between them and Waddy,” the indictment read.
Ramos was standing on the sidewalk and could only see Waddy from the side when he fired two shots in Waddy’s direction. The indictment said that Ramos knew there were a lot of people behind Waddy and at no point did Waddy turn toward him to directly threaten him with his gun.
“Officer Ramos’ decision to shoot was not legally justified because it was reckless, unreasonable, and unnecessary for the purpose of protecting himself or other officers and he consciously disregarded an unjustifiable risk of injury to the crowd behind Mr. Waddy,” the document said.
Mayor Hancock statement on charges
Police officers make split second decisions under difficult circumstances on a daily basis, and those decisions are rooted in keeping people safe. While the situation remains an unfortunate one, and it’s regrettable that innocent bystanders were injured, I’m surprised to see that the grand jury found the officer’s actions involved criminal intent. As there is now a criminal court case regarding this incident, the city cannot provide additional comments until the case is concluded.Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
Charges against Denver officer
Officer Ramos was charged with two counts of second-degree assault – reckless, three counts of third-degree assault – knowing/reckless, three counts of third-degree assault – negligence with a deadly weapon, one count of prohibited use of a weapon, and five counts of reckless endangerment. Ramos was granted a personal recognizance bond.
Denver police said Ramos has been with the department since 2019 and will be suspended without pay due to the felony charges.
Ramos is the first officer indicted by a grand jury while McCann has been in office.