Officer testifies to alleged cover-up in police brutality case
by Julie Hayden
FOX 31 news-March 10, 2009
DENVER – Surprising testimony in a police brutality trial has revealed an alleged cover-up in a case that the Denver City Council has already settled for almost $1 million.
It came in the trial of veteran Denver gang officer Charles Porter who is accused of felony first degree assault in the beating of 16-year-old Juan Vasquez.
The incident happened last April near 37th and Pecos. Officer Cameron Moerman told jurors he had arrested Vasquez after a foot chase, and the teen was handcuffed, face down on the ground. He says suddenly Porter started jumping up and down on the teen’s back.
Vasquez suffered serious injuries to his internal organs and was hospitalized for more than a week. Moerman testified he was “shocked” at Porter’s actions and called them “excessive” and “unnecessary” force.
He said he did not mention Porter’s actions to anyone else or put them in the police reports. He says he did not want to get Porter in trouble, When the prosecutor asked if there was pressure within the Police Department not to report negative things on other officers, Moerman paused and replied “I don’t know how to answer that.”
But he added he did feel there was a ‘good possibility” he would be negatively impacted if he did report it. The case has already cost Denver taxpayers nearly one million dollars, in a civil court settlement with the teen.
Porter’s trial continues tomorrow.
The Police Independent Monitor, Chief and Mayor’s office say they cannot comment on anything until the case is concluded.