Denver police shooting gunman and 6 bystanders was unnecessary and unreasonable, defense attorney says

Denver police’s decision to shoot a gunman in a busy downtown nightlife area — and injure six bystanders in the process — was unreasonable and unnecessary, the man’s attorney said Tuesday.

Police shot Jordan Waddy, 21, in the back, leg, buttocks and chest, public defender Becca Butler-Dines said during a hearing on Tuesday. Butler-Dines said she has yet to see full video footage of the incident, but the video she has viewed so far has raised serious concerns about how police handled the incident. ‘incident.

“There is no evidence that Mr. Waddy attempted to use a firearm,” Butler-Dines said.

His statements were the first time someone had spoken on behalf of Waddy, who police say drew a gun as they approached him in the early morning hours of July 17. The three officers injured six bystanders when they opened fire on Waddy as bars let out along Larimer Street.

Waddy’s civilian attorney, Tyrone Glover, said Tuesday afternoon that the officers’ actions were reckless.

“The community is asking how police were able to use lethal force so quickly by opening fire on a crowd of people to stop a simple bar fight,” Glover said in a statement. “Mr. Waddy now also faces criminal charges, none of which involve threatening officers or endangering them with imminent bodily harm. It is an all too familiar scenario tainted with bias, for which Mr. Waddy and other bystanders could have been killed, and the city of Denver is already trying to shift the blame.

Waddy, who is on parole for aggravated assault, remained in hospital on Tuesday for treatment and appeared by phone during his second court appearance on charges of possession of a weapon by a former offender and of misdemeanor assault.

After the shooting, Waddy waited 20 minutes before being put on a stretcher, Butler-Dines said. He was rushed to emergency surgery when he arrived at Denver Health Medical Center and doctors removed his spleen so they could treat internal bleeding. Waddy now has an 8 inch incision on his abdomen and will require physical therapy to regain the ability to walk normally.

Magistrate Judge Arnie Beckman lowered Waddy’s bail from $75,000 to $10,000. The highest bail was set when Waddy was held on suspicion of a felony threatening – a more serious charge – but prosecutors did not file that charge.

Denver police officials denied requests to release body camera and surveillance footage from the shooting, citing Waddy’s ongoing criminal case and the district attorney’s investigation into the officers’ decision to shoot. . Denver police officials held a press conference last week about the incident, but only released stills from the video they selected.

Police accountability legislation lawmakers passed in 2020 requires departments to release body camera footage within 21 days of most incidents. The law states that in incidents where there is a criminal case, such as Waddy’s, the defendant’s attorney has 21 days to file an objection against the release of the footage. If an objection is filed, the judge assigned to the case is required to hold a hearing.

Butler-Dines said the public defender’s office likely won’t object to the release of videos of the incident, but is waiting to file its opinion on the matter until it can review all of the material. The office received a link to the footage on Friday and it took eight hours on Monday to upload the videos.

Butler-Dines sought a gag order against attorneys and police on the case, specifically asking Beckman to keep police from talking about the incident.

“They constantly tried to turn this into a justified shooting of a young black man,” she said, noting that “in the same breath” police said the investigation was ongoing.

Police initially alleged that Waddy had pointed a gun at officers, but, in a briefing a few days later, acknowledged that Waddy did not appear to be holding the gun by his “pistol grip” and that he may have pulled it out through the slide above the gun. .

Beck denied the request for a gag order.

Waddy’s next court date is August 24, when he will appear for a preliminary hearing.