Apr 8, 2022 - News

Denver mayor maintains "confidence" in police chief post-trial

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver police chief Paul Pazen during a swearing-in ceremony for the new chief in 2018. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is doubling down on his determination to keep police chief Paul Pazen in place.

Driving the news: Hancock told Axios Denver on Thursday that the city was appealing the federal jury's $14 million precedent-setting verdict that officers violated the civil rights of protesters. The ruling called Pazen's leadership capabilities into question.

  • "I do still have confidence in chief Pazen," the mayor told Alayna. "While we were not perfect in our administration and dealing with the protests, we believe that we certainly have some reasons to go back and look at a different type of decision with regards to that situation."

The other side: Mark Silverstein of ACLU of Colorado, which represented seven of the 12 protesters, said the Hancock administration "should focus on fixing its police force" instead of "wasting time and money challenging the jury’s verdict."

The intrigue: A week after the jury's decision, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition hired Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, to conduct a survey in Denver.

  • One question asked whether Pazen should be replaced as police chief because of the agency's troubled response to the protests, Axios Denver has learned.
  • Another inquired about whether residents have favorable views of the police department and how the city should pay out the $14 million verdict.
  • Christie Donner, the coalition's executive director, would not share the poll results and declined through a spokesperson to comment on the survey questions.

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