“I always thought police were nothing but good and were there to protect people,” testifies Elizabeth Polak, a registered nurse from Phoenix. Her view of the State’s enforcement caste changed dramatically as a result of what she witnessed in Denver on the evening of March 25, 2008.
Polak, returning to her apartment following her daily jog, saw a man and a woman having an unremarkable conversation near the entrance to the building. Two police officers appeared – a development always pregnant with trouble – and approached the couple. From a distance of about 100 feet, Polak saw the officers stride purposefully toward the man, who was later identified as James Moore.
“The officers did not stop and have a conversation with Mr. Moore,” she later recounted in a sworn affidavit. “The officers walked up to him and instantaneously punched Mr. Moore. Prior to being punched, there was no resistance or non-cooperation on his part. Mr. Moore was not given the chance to comply with any orders, if any were given. It appeared that the police were on a mission to walk up to Mr. Moore and punch him.”
Shocked and terrified by the assault on Moore, the woman – his girlfriend, Julie Gomez – repeatedly exclaimed: “You have the wrong people!” Moore, who had been knocked to the ground, did what he could to avoid or deflect the blows directed at him by the assailants.
The attack on Moore “appeared to be completely unprovoked and at no time was Mr. Moore fighting back,” Polak – who has never spoken with the victim – related in her affidavit. “At no time did Mr. Moore try to attack an officer. At no time did Mr. Moore try to reach for an officer’s weapon. Mr. Moore was surprisingly calm.”
“I did try to stay calm,” Moore, a Special Forces combat veteran, recalled to Pro Libertate. “I just tried to assure myself that the beating would eventually stop, and I just had to endure it patiently. But it didn’t stop.”
“We were waiting outside the building, when I suddenly hear pounding and rushing footsteps — then next thing you know Miller is in my face shouting, `Get your hands out of your pockets! Show me some ID!’” Moore told Pro Libertate. “I said, `Why. what’s going on’ — and I was almost simultaneously knocked to the ground before I could finish.” Once the beating began, Moore tried to identify himself and point out he was a disabled Vet — but this availed him nothing.
Moore hit the ground hard – and went very still. Moore recalled that there was a sudden, brief pause in the assault after blood gushed from his face onto the sidewalk.
“It seems to me that they knew at that point they’d screwed up,” he said. “It was as if, after a second or two, they decided to make it look as if I had been resisting arrest – which meant that they had to use a great deal of `necessary force’ to subdue me.” Robledo immediately hog-tied Moore, binding his wrists and ankles in a restraint device — while Miller continued the assault. When Miller’s hands grew weary and his knuckles became sore, he extracted a small club and began hitting the victim in the neck and head.
“I stood in terror watching the beating for about 7-10 minutes,” Polak attested. The attack lasted long enough for the young woman to enter her apartment and get to a window.
During that time, the assailants — seeking to sustain the fiction that they were subduing a dangerous, resisting criminal — called for “backup.” A thugscrum of about ten officers quickly congealed at the scene. As many as a half-dozen of them helping to restrain the unresisting Moore, who was already hog-tied and remained conscious for roughly half of the amount of time described by Polak.
“Every time I tried to say something, they raised my leg higher into the air behind my back, causing my diaphragm to push into my lungs to shut off my air supply,” Moore pointed out. “I could not breathe out, much less breathe in.” Even though he was helpless, hog-tied, face-down on the concrete, and suffocating, the police continued to beat him unstintingly while chanting the preferred refrain of the rapist: “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!”
“From the windows inside the complex, I saw Mr. Moore lying lifeless in his own blood,” Polak narrates. “Officers were still on top of him striking him with their fists. He was not moving and did not look like he was breathing. His face looked caved in.”
Eventually one of the officers – obviously the brightest of a very dim lot – noticed that.
Moore appeared to be dead, and began to administer CPR. An ambulance pulled up shortly thereafter and Moore’s apparently lifeless body was taken to the hospital.
At one point, that body was literally lifeless, in a clinical sense: Moore “flatlined” on the sidewalk and had to be medically revived by the EMTs. Polak, looking at Moore from a distance with the eyes of an RN, couldn’t tell if the victim had survived: “I called my mom and asked if she would call the police to inquire whether Mr. Moore was alive or dead.”
It’s doubtful that Denver’s, ahem, Finest would have cared much about the fate of a mere Mundane like James Moore. The officer who led the unprovoked assault certainly wasn’t troubled by what he had just done.
“After the ambulance left, a fireman used a fire hose to wash the blood off the sidewalk,” Polak notes. I also noticed that the same officer that was beating him with the club was wiping Mr. Moore’s blood off of his club.”