Jan 4, 2023 - News

Grand jury indicts Denver officer for LoDo shooting that injured 6 bystanders

Denver police officer Kenneth Rowland fires his weapon at an armed man outside Larimer Beer Hall on July 17. Image via Denver Department of Public Safety video

A grand jury tasked with investigating a July 2022 police shooting that injured six bystanders in Lower Downtown Denver has indicted officer Brandon Ramos, Denver's district attorney announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: Ramos was charged with two counts of second-degree assault among other misdemeanor charges. He was granted a PR bond and has been suspended without pay from the police department, an agency spokesperson told Axios Denver.

  • Two other officers who fired their guns that night — Meagan Lieberson and Kenneth Rowland — will not face criminal charges after the grand jury and District Attorney Beth McCann found their actions "legally justified."
  • Lieberson and Rowland have been taken off patrol and moved into a modified duty assignment — and the agency is postponing an internal review of the incident until "the current court case is adjudicated," a DPD spokesperson said.

Why it matters: The case marked the first time McCann, who's been in the role since 2017, called on a grand jury to review whether an officer shooting at a suspect was justified.

Details: The indictment states that Ramos' decision to shoot was not legally justified because it was "reckless, unreasonable and unnecessary for the purpose of protecting himself or other officers."

  • Ramos "consciously disregarded an unjustifiable risk of injury to the crowd," the indictment reads.
  • The grand jury made its decision after hearing testimony from 17 witnesses and reviewing 140 exhibits, per the district attorney's office.

What they're saying: In a Wednesday news conference, Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney for the three victims shot by Ramos, commended the indictment but criticized the Denver Police Department for failing to fully "hold itself accountable."

The other side: Denver police union president Tyson Worrell defended Ramos on Wednesday. "We remain confident when all evidence comes out it will be clear that officer Ramos is not a criminal and should not be treated as one," he said in a news briefing.

  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also responded to Wednesday's decision, saying in a statement he was "surprised to see that the grand jury found the officer's actions involved criminal intent."

Catch up quick: Denver officers opened fire in the early morning of July 17, 2022 on a man seen raising his hands before turning his back to draw his handgun and throwing it to the ground.

  • Three officers fired seven rounds into a downtown crowd, injuring three women and three men.

Of note: The armed man, identified as Jordan Waddy, has been charged with three counts of possession of a firearm as a previous offender and one count of third-degree assault.

  • A criminal case against Waddy is pending before Denver District Court.

What's next: The case against Ramos "will move forward in the courts," McCann said in a statement.

  • Rathod told reporters Wednesday his office is weighing whether to file a civil lawsuit, but has yet to make a decision.

Editor's note: This story is has been updated throughout.

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