Innocent Man Arrested for Robbery and Assault, Spends Two Months in Denver Jail
Steven Talley shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.
Date of Interaction: September 15, 2014
Police Employees Involved: Det. Jeff Hart, Denver SWAT, Denver PD and Denver Fugitive Recovery Unit
Police Department: Denver Police Department
On the evening of September 15, 2014 at approximately 8:30 pm MT, I was awoken from sleep by an individual at my door claiming he hit my car. I went out in my underwear and a t-shirt. The guy pointed me to the lower panel of my driver side door. When I started looking down where I was directed, flash-grenades were denoted in my face. The Denver SWAT team ran to me and threw me down on the ground, zip-tied me, and then beat and kicked me while I was restrained and totally defenseless. Seconds before the beating, one of the officers said, “So you like to fuck with my brothers in blue?” At the end of the beating, another said, “Don’t fuck with the biggest gang in Denver.” I sustained four broken ribs on my right side (my 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th), a broken sternum, significant injuries to my groin and leg, four ruptured discs in my lower back, and two cracked teeth from one of the officers literally standing on my face.
As you’ll see from the news report, I had an airtight alibi. I was actually working at the time as a financial professional. The Denver police didn’t even use the fingerprint evidence they collected “to be used in a comparison exam should a suspect be developed.” I was offered probation for offenses that statutorily they weren’t even allowed to offer a person probation for. I received absolutely no medical assistance during my two month stay in jail. I received no apology when all charges were dismissed, instead I’ve been constantly threatened by the Denver police since my dismissal.
When I contacted Internal Affairs they connected me with Brian Cotter; this guy was caught colluding with the DA and the sheriff’s department, and also got caught threatening witnesses. I asked for him to be recused and they refused. I can’t believe he is still working for the IAB.
As reported by TheDenverChannel.com:
The CALL7 Investigators have learned a Denver man who spent two months in jail before he was cleared of charges for two bank robberies and assaulting a police officer — had an airtight alibi all along.
Steve Talley was at work at Transamerica Capital in the Denver Tech Center at the time of the first robbery, and had the call recordings and security badge logs to prove it. Because of his work in the financial securities industry, he had also previously undergone background checks and fingerprinting. He believes investigators should have known they had the wrong guy before he was ever arrested.
“YOU’VE GOT THE WRONG GUY”
Talley was asleep at home of the evening of Sept. 15, when a man he’d never met came to his door.
“He said, ‘I hit your car. I would like you to, you know, come out, and just kind of look at the damage,'” he said.
In a shirt and boxers, Talley said he went outside with the man, who pointed him toward the driver’s side of his Jeep.
“And as soon as I looked down there, I would say within one or two seconds, a flash grenade,” he said. “There were people that looked like Army personnel, with big guns, running at me.”
Those people were part of the Safe Streets Task Force, a multi-agency law enforcement unit that includes the Denver Police Department and the FBI.
“I basically said to him, ‘You’ve got the wrong guy. You’ve got the wrong guy, and I want an attorney,'” Talley said.
He was arrested and booked into the downtown Denver jail, charged with one bank robbery and an assault on a police officer on May 14, as well as another bank robbery just days before, on Sept. 5.
When he met his public defender, Talley said he told her immediately about his alibi.
“I basically said, you know, ‘I was working. And this is ridiculous.’ I was working at Transamerica, Financial Professional,” he said.
Talley said he explained that because of regulations in the financial industry, his former employer would have detailed records of where and when he used his security badge on May 14, as well as time-stamped surveillance video and recordings of his phone calls.
Days after his arrest, Talley learned more about the case against him. A maintenance man who worked in his building had called in a tip to police after seeing Crime Stoppers photos of the robberies, thinking he recognized Talley. When police then showed photos and video from the scene to Talley’s ex-wife, and one of his roommates, they both agreed.
But when investigators presented Talley’s photo in a line-up to the victims of the robberies, the results were very different. Both the teller in the May robbery, and the off-duty officer in the bank who tried to stop it, picked other photos. And, a second teller said she was only “85 percent sure” Talley was the robber.
A deputy in Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey’s office handled the case. After reviewing the file, Morrissey said the information they had at the time was enough to file charges.
“He’s picked out of the photo lineup by the victim in the bank. And then he’s identified by people that know him, saying, ‘This is the guy,'” said Morrissey.
Police documents show that months before Talley’s arrest, investigators had taken two fingerprints from the first crime scene that they believed belonged to the robber, and saved them “to be used in a comparison exam should a suspect be developed.” But according to Morrissey’s office, there is no indication that those prints were ever compared to Talley’s.
Talley said about a month after his arrest, while his lawyer was still gathering the proof of his alibi, the DA offered a plea of probation in exchange for pleading guilty to one felony. He said his lawyer couldn’t believe it.
“She was very shocked about it. She had never seen something like this before,” he said.
Talley believes that offer came because the DA’s office knew he was not the robber. But Morrissey said there was nothing unusual about the plea bargain.
“I would say 90-some percent chance that every judge in Denver is gonna give this guy probation,” Morrissey told Ferrugia.
“What if someone says to me, ‘The reason somebody offers this for a bank robbery and an assault on a police officer is because they’ve got a weak case and they’re just trying to get out of it?’ What would you say?” Ferrugia asked.
“I think that it could be considered a weak case, there’s no doubt about that,” Morrissey said. “As far as the offer that was made, I’m very comfortable with the offer made in this case in light of what really happens in our, in our courtrooms at sentencing.”
Morrissey said once Talley’s attorney obtained and shared the records from Transamerica — nearly two months after the arrest — his office acted to finally get Talley out of jail.
“Once it was verified, in less than a week, we dismissed the case,” Morrissey said. “So were there mistakes made? I don’t believe so.”
But Talley, who said after 20 years in the financial services industry said he can no longer find a job and is currently living in shelters, believes it all could have been avoided.
“My whole life has been turned upside down, you know, because I was misidentified. It seemed like it could happen to anyone,” he said.
The Denver Police Department declined to comment on the case — including Talley’s arrest — saying the investigations into the bank robberies and assault remain open.
“I am actually afraid of the police now,” Talley said. “I’m not a small person, but I’m actually very fearful, from what happened to me, that there might be further retribution from them.”