Denver DA opens grand jury investigation into LoDo police shooting

The Denver District Attorney will open a grand jury investigation into the LoDo police shooting in which officers injured six bystanders while firing at an armed suspect.

The July 17 police shooting sparked outrage across the city and pledges from the Denver police officials to provide a thorough, transparent investigation into its officers’ actions.

“The public’s interest in this particular shooting incident is understandably high,” District Attorney Beth McCann said Tuesday in a news release announcing the investigation. “For the community to trust in the outcome from this incident, it is important that independent members of the community review the facts, evidence and law regarding whether these officers should be criminally charged. Until the grand jury’s work is complete, my office will have no further comment on this matter.”

McCann’s decision means a group of jurors will decide whether the officers who fired their weapons should be indicted on criminal charges. In the vast majority of police shootings, the district attorney’s office makes the charging decision unilaterally.

Three Denver police officers started following Jordan Waddy because they believed he had a gun after they saw him lift up his shirt and grab at his waistband during an argument near the intersection of 20th and Larimer streets. When confronted by police, Waddy pulled a handgun from his clothing and was holding it by the slide on the top of the gun when the officers fired, police said. The officers injured Waddy as well as the six bystanders in the immediate vicinity of 20th and Larimer streets as bars closed for the night

Waddy faces three counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender and one count of third-degree assault in connection to the incident. The officers were placed on paid administrative leave while their actions are investigated.

Three of the bystanders shot by police have called for accountability for the officers.

Denver police Cmdr. Matt Clark previously defended the officers’ actions but also acknowledged that the situation could have been handled differently.

Two of the officers believed they had a clear shot without people behind the suspect when they fired, Clark said. A third officer could see a crowd of people standing behind the suspect, Clark said, and because of that fired only a single round. The entire incident lasted less than five seconds, he said.

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