Editorial: For now, mayor’s clearing of police chief in open records case seems appropriate

The Denver Post: Police who lie to their superiors or misrepresent facts in a case have no place on the force. That’s why for years we’ve supported a policy of firing officers who engage in such behavior.

That’s also why we’ve been disturbed by accusations that Denver Chief Robert White and Deputy Chief Matt Murray last year deliberately misled the safety department’s records coordinator, Mary Dulacki, after she forwarded open records requests from the police union and Denver7 television. Murray told her there were no documents “responsive to this request,” which sought a letter from then-District Attorney Mitch Morrissey blasting the department for its handling of a case.

Both White and Murray had seen the letter and it was in the department’s possession.

On Monday, Mayor Michael Hancock finally announced he will not discipline White for his actions, or for his behavior last year after his vehicle was struck by a hit-and-run driver and he gave pursuit.

We understand why the mayor chose this route since the sloppy handling of Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests by the department — which the city has pledged to reform — gives credence to the chief’s claim of ignorance. But let there be no mistake: Until the public has access to a third-party investigator’s examination of the incident, which the mayor consulted in making his decision along with a lengthy report from the Conduct Review Office of the Denver Sheriff’s Department, any claim that White has been fully vindicated is premature.

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