Panel: fired DPD detective should be reinstated

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DENVER — A Denver police detective who was fired last year for allegedly mishandling the case of a pregnant woman injured by a hit and run driver should get his job back, a Denver Civil Service Commission panel decided Tuesday.

The panel of 3 hearing officer ruled unanimously that the city “failed to meet its burden of proof” in trying to uphold the firing of Det. Jay Estrada.

Estrada was investigating a Dec. 2010 hit and run accident in Stapleton that injured Laurie Gorham and killed her unborn child when, according to an internal affairs complaint, another officer claimed Estrada ‘misled’ them about the investigation and did not take the necessary steps to follow up.

The case remains unsolved.

“The Panel’s decision indicates that the Manager of Safety/City failed to meet its burden of proof at the hearing to show that the Officer “willfully committed a materially deceptive act as it related to the underlying investigation of the Stapleton Hit and Run,” said Civil Service Commission spokesman Brian Kellogg.

Denver Manager of Safety Alex Martinez plans to appeal the ruling to the full Commission.

“Once again, the hearing officers have misunderstood the nature of deceptive conduct; in this case, the concept of materiality,” Martinez said in a statement. “In this office’s view, the conduct was material even if it would not have changed the outcome of the investigation. We do not tolerate deceptive conduct and we will continue to impose appropriate discipline.”

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