Body camera released in hit-and-run involving Denver police chief

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DENVER — Eight months after Denver’s Police  Chief was the victim in a hit and run collision, FOX31 has obtained the 911 calls and the bodycam footage that led to an internal investigation into Chief Robert White’s conduct.

In his calls to 911, Chief White tells dispatch operators the same thing multiple times, “The guy hit me and I chased him….this guy hit me, whacked my car so I chased him and then he hit another car…I got a thousand Aurora police officers here. This guy hit it me and it started in Denver and I chased him into Aurora.”

Repeatedly Chief White used the word “chase” which led Denver to investigate whether the Chief violated his department’s vehicle pursuit policy.

Again on bodycam footage captured by an Aurora Police Officer, Chief White said, “Actually I`m on my way to the gym but I was in Denver when he hit me. He ran a stop sign so I chased his a**.”

During his calls to 911, the Denver Police Chief repeatedly asks for Denver Police to respond to the scene at 16th and Yosemite, complaining that only Aurora officers were on the scene that straddled both cities.  At one point Chief White can be heard joking to an Aurora police officer, “I see you all responded a lot quicker than my f***ing guys. Maybe I need to do a lateral transfer instead of trying to get you all to transfer.”

Those remarks quickly filtered to members of Denver’s Police Union, the Denver Police Protective Association, who called for the Chief to be investigated both for his remarks about Denver Police and the possibility of violating the department’s pursuit policy.

On April 9, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock exonerated Chief White of any wrongdoing related to the  September 29, 2017 incident.

An internal investigation found that while the Chief’s joke was inappropriate he did not abuse or berate anyone and the comment wasn’t made to a member of the Denver Police Department.  Mayor Hancock noted that Chief White later apologized for remarks.

“When considering this situation, it’s important to remember that Chief White was one of the victims in this criminal incident,” said Mayor Hancock. “He did not choose his words wisely, but he didn’t violate any department policies.”

Mayor Hancock reached the same conclusion when it came to the suggestion that Chief White might have violated the department’s pursuit policy.

According to investigators Chief White made statements that he “chased” the vehicle, however, those statements appeared to be a semantic use of the term and not a literal definition of his actions, or the same use of “pursuit” as defined in department policy.

Instead, investigators found that after reviewing the sequence of events, it appeared White merely followed the drunk driver with his sirens off and arrived on the scene after the second accident had occurred.

On April 24, barely two weeks after the Mayor cleared Robert White of  wrongdoing, the Chief announced his retirement with intentions to stay on until his  replacement has been announced.

The President of Denver Police Protective Association, Nick Rogers, told Investigative Reporter Rob Low he didn’t want to comment until he’s had a chance to review the 911 calls and the bodycam footage himself.  The DPPA has already sued the city of Aurora for its refusal to release the bodycam footage.

Both the DPPA and FOX31 obtained the footage Monday afternoon from the City of Denver through a public records request.   Denver agreed to release the bodycam, 911 calls and  interviews Chief White gave to internal affairs investigators after the the hit and run driver was sentenced to probation last week after pleading guilty on May 7 to DUI and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

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