Denver DA wants grand jury probe of police shooting that injured bystanders as body camera footage is released
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann is requesting a grand jury investigation after three city police officers shot into a crowded area in lower downtown Denver last month, injuring six bystanders.
“The public’s interest in this particular shooting incident is understandably high,” McCann said in a statement Tuesday. “For the community to trust in the outcome from the incident, it is important that independent members of the community review the facts, evidence and law regarding whether these officers should be criminally charged.”
McCann’s announcement comes the same day as Denver police releasing the officers’ body camera footage and surveillance videos from the July 17 shooting, which shows three officers firing seven rounds at 21-year-old Jordan Waddy on a packed sidewalk near a Greek food truck and outside Larimer Beer Hall.
Footage shows Waddy walk from the street to the sidewalk, where he lifts his hands into the air, seconds before falling to the ground. After police shoot Waddy, dozens of people scatter to the adjacent parking lot and street. Some fall and start to crawl across the sidewalk trying to seek cover behind the food truck and others appear to be trampled.
Denver Police Department are “deeply concerned” that six people were injured by rounds fired by police, Cmdr. Matt Clark said in a video detailing the shooting Tuesday.
Clark said the officers, who were assigned to control the crowd in the area, first saw Waddy fighting outside the beer hall at 20th and Larimer streets and what appeared to be a gun in his hoodie jacket or waistband. The officers confronted Waddy while he was on the street, ordering him to show his hands.
Waddy initially put his hands up, but then ignored the officers and retreated to the crowded sidewalk toward the food truck and pulled a gun from his jacket with his left hand, footage shows. Officers Megan Lieberson and Kenneth Rowland, who were facing perpendicular to the beer hall and standing on the sidewalk, fired a combined six rounds at Waddy. A third officer, Brandon Ramos, followed Waddy around a parked vehicle and fired one round at Waddy from the sidewalk when he saw the 21-year-old’s gun pointed toward the officers on Larimer Street, Clark said in the video.
Ramos was aware of the people standing behind Waddy in front of the beer hall, Clark said. The officers later found on Waddy a Black Rock Island semi-automatic 10 mm handgun, loaded with one round in the chamber and seven in the magazine, Clark said. The hammer was cocked back, but police found no evidence that he fired his gun.
All three officers were hired by the department in 2019. Waddy’s injuries were not life threatening, Clark said during a news conference last month.
Attorney Siddhartha Rathod, who is representing three bystanders injured in the shooting, commended the grand jury investigation but said it would not be enough to bring justice to the victims. He called for the officers’ indictments.
“The footage demonstrates what we already knew to be true — Denver officers acted with extreme recklessness, intentionally firing live rounds toward a dense crowd,” Rathod said in a statement Tuesday.
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