By Hannah Garcia
LAW WEEK COLORADO
The video is fuzzy, but the assault is clear — during a confrontation with two Denver police officers outside of the Denver Diner, four women are clubbed, punched and pepper-sprayed.
Rathod Mohamedbhai partners Siddhartha Rathod and Qusair Mohamedbhai and attorney Arash Jahanian used that video of a 2009 incident to demonstrate a pattern of police violence and a culture of self-preservation in Denver. The case resolved with a settlement with the city in 2013 and the two officers’ final termination in 2015. It’s one of several cases that have carved out a reputation for the civil litigators as crusaders for civil rights, particularly in relation to excessive force and civil claims of excessive force.
The three attorneys used that reputation to share their own experiences litigating against the city during a free CLE at their RiNo-based firm July 28 in conjunction with the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. Apart from pulling down substantial awards for their clients, Rathod, Mohamedbhai and Jahanian spoke in broader terms about efforts to eradicate de facto policies that they say marginalize minorities and fuel societal oppression.
Nationally, officers are rarely indicted for killings, and no law enforcement official in Denver has faced charges for a shooting since 1992. The Denver Police Department ranks are almost 70 percent white with a 48 percent minority population while the Aurora department is 86 percent white when a majority of its population is not.