DENVER (KDVR) — Two Denver police officers have been suspended for allegedly using force against people who did not pose a threat during the George Floyd protests here in the city last summer.
According to discipline reports released by the Department of Public Safety, Officer Diego Archuleta “discharged his oleo-resin capsicum (OC) fogger at a vehicle stuck in traffic” and is now facing a six-day suspension.
The report says a woman who was stuck in traffic on North Logan Street just after midnight on June 1, 2020 was “chastising the officers” and said “What, they gonna kill this guy?” when Archuleta was near her SUV.
After that comment, Archuleta turned and sprayed his OC fogger twice at the windshield then turned and walked up the street.
“Once I dispersed the fogger, the female immediately put her window up and put her head down to read her phone. I realized that I made a mistake and walked away from the female and her car,” Archuleta wrote in his use of force report.
The other officer facing a suspension is Officer Derek Streeter. Streeter has been suspended ten days for firing PepperBall rounds at a vehicle driving away from the riot on May 29.
Streeter was with a group of officers at the intersection of Broadway and 14th when several cars drove by yelling profanity at them. According to the report, Streeter responded by firing three PepperBall rounds in the car’s direction.
During an interview with internal affairs, Streeter said he believed a male in one of the cars was preparing to throw something at the officers. Streeter’s pepperball gun malfunctioned at first as the car drove away, but he fixed the problem and then fired shots as the car continued driving away from the group of officers.
“I did feel that the subject could be a threat at that distance,” Streeter said during is Internal Affairs interview. “Over the course of the 13 hours as well as the night prior, subjects in the hostile and riotous crowd had used items such as sling shots and lacrosse sticks to shoot rocks and golf balls at officers to assault them from a further distance,” he said according to the report.
The chair of Denver’s Citizen Oversight Board says more suspensions could be forthcoming, as additional investigations conclude.
“Based on the number of officers who weren’t wearing their body-worn cameras, or their body-worn cameras were out, I expect more to come,” says Al Gardner. “Because I’m sure there are more instances where the public felt endangered, so I do expect to see it, and if so, I believe it’s the right thing.”
Jax Feldmann, who lost an eye during the riots, says he’s still waiting to find out if the officer who shot him with a pepperball will be suspended, or punished.
Feldmann says he was leaving a work meeting at a friend’s house when officers shot at him from the side of a moving police vehicle.
“It’s God awful, and it makes me want to see him lose his job and never hold a gun again,” he said.
His attorneys say that internal affairs investigation remains open. They are in the process of filing a lawsuit against the officers and the city and county of Denver.