Explanatory Multimedia Reporting from CU Boulder Journalism Students


Mapping Denver’s Officer-Involved Shootings

April 3, 2017

 

Using publicly available data, CU News Corps has mapped every officer-involved shooting reported by the City of Denver from 2015 to now.

Click on the markers to get information about each shooting, including profiles of each of the people involved. Markers also include links to the district attorney’s decision letters, where you can find pictures, diagrams and witness accounts of each incident. Use the options on the right to filter by race / ethnicity, fatality and armament.

The project will be updated with recent shootings as data becomes available.

The city defines officer-involved shootings as “incidents in which one or more Denver police officers discharged a firearm.” In all of the mapped incidents, at least one officer shot at one or more of the subjects.

Some observations about the data:

  • In the shooting death of Dion Damon, the subject was said to be armed with a “simulated weapon.” Technician Jeffrey Motz said that he saw Damon point a handgun at him, which prompted the shooting. The DA’s decision letter reveals that no gun was found in Damon’s car. However, a cell phone was found, which Motz may have mistaken for a gun.

    In the shooting of John Clark, the subject was also said to have been armed with a simulated weapon, which turned out to be a smoking pipe.

    It’s not immediately clear what constitutes a simulated weapon, apart from an item that a subject may have reached for or brandished, and which officers thought was a gun (note that there’s another category for “Replica or Air Gun”).

  • Between Jan. 1, 2015 and April 3, 2017, Denver officers were involved in a total of 23 shootings, 19 of which resulted in an injury or death. Non-whites and Hispanics made up 75 percent of all subjects who were injured or killed in those shootings.

Former Democratic state representative Beth McCann replaced Mitch Morrissey as Denver’s DA in January. According to the Denver Post, during Morrissey’s 12 years in office, he never once prosecuted an officer for their involvement in a shooting (Morrissey oversaw the investigations of at least 81 shootings).

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