Two Denver police officers broke the rules when they detained an editor of a news website who was observing them as they dealt with a naked man on a sidewalk last year, officials have determined.
David Sachs of Denverite reports that officers Adam Paulsen and James Brooks were determined to have violated Denver Police Department policy when they handcuffed and held Colorado Independent editor Susan Greene and took her cellphone, which she was using to shoot pictures of the officers.
In a DPD statement, the department noted that members of the public have a legal right to observe and record police activities. The officers will be docked two days' pay as punishment, Denverite reported.
The incident happened July 5, 2018, near Colfax Avenue and Grant Street in downtown Denver.
According to Associated Press accounts at the time, Greene happened upon two officers dealing with a handcuffed naked man lying on the sidewalk, and began photographing the situation with her phone. Police later said the man was "in crisis."
Greene said at the time that police told her to stop taking pictures and, when she refused, handcuffed her and put her in a patrol car. She said she complained the officers were hurting her — and that they replied she was hurting herself by resisting.
She said an officer ignored her assertions that she had a First Amendment right to take photos on a public sidewalk. Colorado law protects the public’s right to record the actions of peace officers.
Greene said she was released after the officer consulted with someone on his cellphone.
DPD launched an internal investigation following the incident. Weeks afterward, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced there was not enough evidence to file and prove criminal charges against the officers.
Greene has been with the Independent since 2013. She previously worked at the Denver Post and newspapers in California and Nevada.