DENVER — A Denver Police officer seen on video shoving a bar patron against a flight of stairs is appealing his 30-day suspension.
The victim, 30-year-old Brandon Schreiber, who had to testify at a Civil Service hearing Wednesday evening, can’t believe it. “He`s (Officer Choice Johnson) not accepting that he`s at fault, that he`s done anything wrong. I`m worried that he`s going to continue to hurt other people.”
Police records show Officer Choice Johnson has been accused of excessive force 18 times but was only suspended in Schreiber’s case, largely because the incident was caught on a city HALO camera, outside the 1 Up Bar at 1925 Blake Street.
Schreiber said he was asking Officer Johnson not to take his brother to detox when he said Johnson shoved him without provocation. “To me I was taking a very docile submissive stance, not showing any aggression whatsoever.”
Video shows Brandon’s hands were in his pockets when he was shoved backwards.
Officer Johnson’s attorney argued at the Civil Service hearing that Officer Johnson had no way to know if Brandon might’ve had a gun in his pocket and suggested Schreiber was being argumentative and cussing at the policeman when the 12-year veteran reacted.
“If you or I did what Officer Johnson did, not only would we lose our jobs but we would be in jail,” said Siddartha Rathod, Schriber’s attorney.
Rathod told FOX31 Denver that giving Officer Johnson back-pay for a suspension he’s already served would be an insult to Denver taxpayers. “Anybody who looks at this video recognizes that Officer Johnson`s conduct was outrageous. It was out of line, it was excessive, it was brutal, and then charging Brandon was absolutely ridiculous.”
Schreiber was originally charged with resisting arrest and police interference. Charges were dropped once the HALO video surfaced.
The hearing officer deciding Officer Johnson’s appeal is expected to issue a ruling later this summer.