Editorial: Investigation into deception by Denver police leaders must be transparent

The Denver Post: December began with long-awaited news that a third-party investigation into the conduct of the top two leaders of the Denver Police Department was completed almost exactly nine months after the city of Denver ordered the review.

The better part of a year is too long for questions to linger about the honesty of the chief of police and his second in command. We can only call at this late point in the process — given that it’s too late to call for speed — for everything to be concluded with an extreme amount of transparency.

The worst-case scenario would be for the full investigation to be kept secret and the public to only be permitted to see a summary compiled by reviewers, the final recommendation and the outcome. Such an outcome would only seed lingering doubt and mistrust. Obviously the city cannot release the investigation until it’s completed, but the moment the final decisions are made, full disclosure is necessary.

The investigation stems from a May 2016 letter that then-District Attorney Mitch Morrissey sent to Police Chief Robert White criticizing Deputy Chief Matt Murray’s handling of a case in which a police officer and another woman were arrested on accusations of sexual assault.

That case itself, while puzzling, wasn’t the impetus of the investigation. Rather, the question is if Murray and White conspired to cover up the district attorney’s critical letter when it was requested through Colorado’s Open Records Act by the Denver Police Protective Association.

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