Denver police file ethics complaint against Councilwoman CdeBaca over protest confrontation

A Denver police officer filed a city ethics complaint against Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca alleging the councilwoman belittled officers at a removal of a homeless encampment and tried to inflame protesters there.

CdeBaca called the police officers stupid, cowards and said they were animals, according to the complaint and video of the Aug. 19 incident. She encouraged protesters to sue the officers and the police department if they were hit. Video of an officer at the protests shows him striking protesters with a baton, including some who had their hands up.

“The comments made by Councilwoman CdeBaca were meant to dehumanize and humiliate officers on scene in front of the protesters,” the police officer, Mallory Lutkin, wrote in her complaint to the Denver Board of Ethics.

Lisa Calderón, CdeBaca’s chief of staff, said Monday that the councilwoman had no comment on the complaint. Calderon said the office will respond once their legal adviser had time to review the document.

In a previous statement about the confrontation, CdeBaca said she was trying to speak on behalf of the people being forced to move from their tents, which were in her council district, and those who were hit by police. She said her comments were directed at the officers who stood by during the sweep, which she called inhumane, and did nothing.

The comments made an already tense situation worse and caused other protesters to insult the officers, Lutkin wrote in her complaint. The councilwoman also told a Black police officer that he should be ashamed of himself and then told Lutkin, who is white, that she expected this from her, Lutkin wrote.

“The statements directed at me insinuated I am racist because I am white,” Lutkin wrote in the complaint, which was first reported by Denver television station KDVR.

Two officers suffered minor injuries at the protest, Denver police have said.

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