Witnesses Speak Up About Denver Police Beatdown

There have been conflicting stories from the son of a sheriff's deputy who was beaten by Denver cops in 2009, and the cops who beat him on video. According to two eyewitnesses: "It was very, very vulgar. It was brutal."

The local NBC news station interviewed two eyewitnesses who say they haven't spoken to police about the beating they saw last year, but talked to 9 News after seeing video of it on TV. One of the witnesses, Hasan Aoutabachai, recalled what Michael DeHerrera said to police as they were hitting him:

He said, 'I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting, sir. Sir, I'm not resisting. You don't have to hit me.' And he just kept beating him while they were on the ground... punching him, punching him, punching him on the ground, punching him. I've never seen anything so terrible."

The two officers accused of the beating said DeHerrera and his friend who was being arrested, Shawn Johnson, pushed or hit one of the officers. The officers noticed DeHerrera was talking on his phone as Johnson was being beaten and cuffed so they kicked his ass. DeHerrera was talking to his father, a Pueblo County sheriff's deputy. But what does the witness, Aoutabachai say about the cops' claim?

That is a big lie. [DeHerrera] did not swing at all. The cop grabbed him by the neck immediately and got him on the ground, he had no chance to hit him. Zero chance to swing at him," Aoutabachai said. "He grabbed him from the back and threw him down so there was zero chance for him to hit the guy or even take a swing."

DeHerrera was beaten with "a department-issued piece of metal wrapped in leather," and "suffered a concussion, two broken teeth, a swollen eye and multiple deep bruises and cuts" after he and Johnson were thrown out of a nightclub where Johnson used the women's bathroom. Local Latino leaders have requested a meeting with Denver Manager of Safety Ronald Perea, who they say covered up the beating.

The city settled a federal lawsuit with DeHerrera for $17,500.

(Thanks to commenter Denver for the tip)