A man who video recorded Denver police repeatedly punching a man in the face, causing his head to bounce off the pavement, before tripping his pregnant wife and causing her to fall on her face – sparking an FBI investigation into the department – was arrested Thursday in what appears to be a case of retaliation.
After all, Denver police not only arrested him on what they called a “newly activated traffic warrant” from a nearby county after he had just left the FBI office with whom he is cooperating on the federal investigation, they refused to allow him to bond out of jail, even though the warrant was regarding a measly missed court date over failure to provide proof of insurance and registration during a traffic stop a few months ago.
Denver police are obviously upset that upset Levi Frasier managed to recover the footage from his Samsung tablet after they had deleted it, which led to them being investigated by the feds.
Frasier was reportedly arrested after leaving the FBI office and before he arrived at FOX31 Denver studios for a schedule interview.
Frasier was not allowed to bond out and was spending the night in jail.
We emailed DPD for a comment and other clarifications after hours.
Cmdr. Matt Murray replied, “I would check with the jail. They could provide the most accurate information about why Mr. Frasier is in jail.”
Frasier is a key witness in an ongoing DPD internal affairs investigation. After recording an arrest on his electronic device, Frasier accused officers of seizing his Samsung tablet without a warrant and scrolling through his video files without permission.
Frasier reported that when the tablet was given back to him, the video was missing, but he restored it with a cloud application.
FOX 31 has been doing a great job on keeping up with this story, dedicating more than six minutes in the previous segment, which you can see below along with the latest segment on his arrest.
In an exclusive interview with FOX31 Denver, Frasier said, “I didn’t give it to them at all. I went back to the van and grabbed it and as I was walking up — it was taken out of my hand.”
Frasier claimed Denver officers violated his civil rights and federal law when they searched his personal photos file without a court order.
Legal experts said Frasier has a right to be angry. Police cannot, except in rare circumstances, seize your mobile devices without a search warrant.
A June Supreme Court ruling, Riley v. California, greatly limits under what circumstances police can look into a persons cellphone or tablet digging for evidence.
“They crossed the line – absolutely!” said Flores’ attorney Benjamin Hartford.
The incident has prompted the Denver Police Department to turn on the Police PR Spin Machine by issuing a four-page release justifying the behavior of the cops in punching the suspect and tripping his wife, but also putting Frasier’s character into question because he has served time in prison years earlier.
But that letter led to the Citizen Oversight Board, whose seven members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council, to issue its own letter, criticizing the four-page press release, accusing them of maintain a lack of objectivity, an excerpt which you can read below, or read in its entirety by clicking here.
The press release also made statements to attack the credibility of the witness who came forward with the video. It stated that the witness has a criminal record, and listed several crimes that he was allegedly imprisoned for in another state. It stated that he was recently released after a “lengthy” prison sentence, and that the witness has “six aliases,” which occurs as a result of a legal name change or “the illegal use of someone else’s name or lying about one’s identity to the police.”
We strongly believe that it was not appropriate for the DPD to make these statements. There is already significant community concern and distrust of the DPD and IAB. Instead of thanking the witness who came forward to share information, the DPD publicly attacked his character. It is very likely that the DPD’s attacks on this witness will only reinforce fears in the community, and inhibit other members of the public from cooperating with DPD or IAB if they witness possible officer misconduct in the future.
We are aware that the stated purpose of IAB investigations is to fairly determine the facts so that decisions can be made about whether any officers engaged in misconduct. There should be no predetermined conclusions at the beginning of an IAB investigation. In this case, however, the DPD has publicly stated that the force was appropriate before IAB has even conducted its investigation. In the news story, the DPD Commander admitted that the Department had not yet viewed the witness’ full video of the use of force. Isn’t that a very important piece of evidence that would have to be viewed before deciding that repeatedly punching the man and tripping his pregnant girlfriend was appropriate?