The Denver police officer who in January was indicted on assault charges in connection to the July 17, 2022, shooting of five bystanders on a busy LoDo street pleaded not guilty Friday morning.
A spokesperson for the Denver District Attorney’s Office in an email confirmed Brandon Ramos’ not guilty plea and said his trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 20, 2024.
A grand jury indicted Ramos on 14 counts, including two counts of second-degree assault, six counts of third-degree assault, one count of prohibited use of a weapon and five counts of reckless endangerment, after he allegedly fired at a suspect in the direction of a crowd near 20th and Larimer in the nightlife district about 1:30 a.m. as bars started to close.
Ramos’ decision to open fire in the direction of a crowd was “reckless, unreasonable and unnecessary,” according to the indictment.
“To charge this officer with a felony crime, jeopardizing his career, his liberty for acting as he was trained, in the public interest, with no malice, ill intent or lack of concern, is unfortunate and sad,” Denver Police Protective Association President Tyson Worrell said in a news conference after the indictment was announced in January. “…Officer Ramos is not a criminal and should not be treated as one.”
Five other people were hit by the bullets, and four of them later filed a lawsuit against Ramos.
While monitoring the crowd on July 17, 2022, Denver police officers in the area followed a man they believed to be involved in a fight and who they thought might be armed. Officers confronted the man, Jordan Waddy, as he walked near the Larimer Beer Hall. When he stopped, he grabbed a handgun hidden in his waistband and threw it to the ground.
Three officers — Ramos, Kenneth Rowland and Megan Lieberson — fired at Waddy after he grabbed the gun, though police acknowledged that he held the gun from the top and not the grip.
Rowland and Lieberson faced Waddy from the front and the grand jury found that none of the rounds they fired injured bystanders, according to the indictment.
But Ramos stood to Waddy’s side. Neither of the two rounds he fired struck Waddy; they instead flew into the crowd of more than 50 people gathered near the food truck, the lawsuit states.
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