DENVER - Denver police Officer Ricky Nixon said he was wrongly fired for filing inaccurate reports about a 2009 excessive-force case at the Denver Diner and was only reinstated thanks to an appeal hearing that resembled a small trial.
He and other police officers and firefighters told the city's Civil Service Commission on Friday that proposed changes to the rules governing such hearings would deny them due process and eliminate checks and balances on the manager of safety's disciplinary decisions.
"Had it not been for the de novo hearing process that we currently have in place, the manager would not have been required to present evidence to prove that I was deceptive," Nixon said at a public hearing on the matter. "His word would have simply been considered correct, and I would have had to prove him wrong."
As it stands, a disciplined officer or firefighter can request an appeal hearing, which puts the onus on the safety manager to prove the punishment is warranted. The commission has proposed changes that would force the officer to show the punishment is unjust.
City officials, including Manager of Safety Alex Martinez and City Attorney Douglas Friednash, have said the changes are necessary to shorten and streamline the disciplinary process.
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