By Brian D. Crecente, The Rocky Mountain News (Denver, Colo.)
Fliers offering a bounty for killing police officers appeared on car
windshields Monday morning, prompting a criminal investigation and a
The fliers, which offer $5,000 for a "crooked cop's life" and
"$10,000 a badge," feature pictures of Frank Lobato and Paul Childs,
both killed in controversial Denver police shootings.
The fliers, which promote a "cop-killer program" with cash prizes,
were distributed in the Lincoln Park area by a group identifying
itself only as "N.E.F.F.," said Denver Deputy Chief Mike Battista.
Lincoln Park is where Lobato, a 63-year-old invalid, was shot and
killed July 11 by officer Ranjan Ford Jr., who mistook a soda can in
Lobato's hand for a weapon.
"Obviously, it's a concern to us because they are threatening
officers' lives, and we take any threats seriously," Battista said.
Officers working Monday were told of the threatening fliers during
roll call and cautioned to be more careful.
The department's intelligence unit is handling the investigation,
Battista said. He added that the FBI is not involved "at this time."
FBI spokeswoman Monique Kelso said the agency would assist in the
investigation if Denver police request its help.
The fliers provoked a strong reaction from city leaders and activists alike.
Mayoral spokeswoman Lindy Eichenbaum-Lent called the flier
"disgusting," adding that when Mayor John Hickenlooper learned of it,
he was "angered and outraged."
"If anyone thinks threats like this make our community safer, they're
crazy," Hickenlooper said. "If we are truly going to increase public
safety - which should be everyone's goal - then we need to work with
our police officers, not against them."
Manager of Safety Al LaCabe said the city is taking the threat
seriously, but that he questions its legitimacy.
"I don't know if it's something just designed to spark a reaction or
get a message across, or if it's genuine," he said. "It's certainly
something that's serious. The danger of that kind of message is that
it's divisive and does nothing to attempt to deal with the issue we
LaCabe called for city residents to ignore the message and said the
fliers do nothing but "polarize the community that much more."
Community leader Adrienne Benavidez, an attorney and former
chairwoman of the Public Safety Review Commission, was shocked to
hear of the fliers.
"Anyone who I've worked with on civilian-rights issues would never be
a party to anything like that," she said.
The Rev. Reginald Holmes, president of the Greater Metro Ministerial
Alliance, called the existence of the fliers unfortunate and sad.
"There is no place for that in this city at all," he said. "I'm
appalled because that is not how you go about changing and making
change in society.
"That's ludicrous to even entertain the thought."
The threat: Fliers were put on car windshields in the Lincoln
Park area offering $5,000 for a "crooked cop's life" and "$10,000 a
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The reaction: "I don't know if it's something just designed to
spark a reaction, or get a message across, or if it's genuine. It's
certainly something that's serious. The danger of that kind of
message is that it's divisive and does nothing to attempt to deal
with the issue we have." -- Manager of Safety Al LaCabe