DENVER — Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced Tuesday that she is opening a grand jury investigation into a police shooting of an armed suspect that injured six bystanders in lower downtown last month.
McCann made the announcement the same day the Denver Police Department released bodycam footage of the July 17 incident near 20th and Larimer streets.
The suspect, Jordan Waddy, 21, was shot and transported to the hospital after three officers fired a total of seven rounds at him. He was transported to the hospital where he was treated and released to the custody of the police.
Six bystanders were injured during the shooting, but it’s unclear how many bystanders were shot or hit by shrapnel. The department said shortly after the incident that it was trying to determine this information, but a month later has still not publicly released an exact number.
“Based upon the information we have at this time, we understand that these injuries to these individuals were directly or indirectly caused by the rounds fired by one or more officers,” Denver Police Department Cmdr. Matt Clark said Tuesday in a video statement.
The shooting happened around the time the bars let out at 1:30 a.m. Police said Waddy was involved in an altercation in front of the Larimer Beer Hall and then walked away as officers began to follow the 21-year-old suspect and give him commands, according to police.
Bodycam video released Tuesday shows Waddy, who is surrounded by DPD officers with their weapons drawn, pulling out a gun from his hoodie, throwing it to his left, and then appears to start to raise his hands when officers open fire.
The amount of time that transpires from when the suspect drops his gun to when gunfire erupts is only 1/6 of a second. A third officer is seen continuing to fire one round after Waddy falls to the ground.
McCann said this case rises to a level where an investigation of the Denver Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau may not be enough.
“The public’s interest in this particular shooting incident is understandably high,” McCann said in a statement. “For the community to trust in the outcome from this incident, it is important that independent members of the community review the facts, evidence and law regarding whether these officers should be criminally charged. Until the grand jury’s work is complete, my office will have no further comment on this matter.”
Rathod | Mohamedbhai LLC, a law firm representing some of the bystanders injured in the shooting, praised the move to open a grand jury investigation.
"Although we commend District Attorney McCann for treating this matter with the seriousness it deserves, a grand jury investigation alone cannot bring justice to the victims in this matter. DA McCann must ensure this case does not follow the pattern of grand jury investigations being used to exonerate and legitimize officer misconduct. Denver’s officers must be indicted and tried for their extremely reckless acts of violence," a statement from the law firm read.
In a statement, the Denver Police Protect Association said it stands with the officers.
"The Denver Police Protective Association stands behind the men and women of the Denver Police Department who perform a difficult and dangerous job and who are often forced to make split-second decisions in their efforts to protect themselves and the community. We also respect the legal process and look forward to a fair, impartial, and thorough investigation into the officer-involved shooting on July 17, 2022."
Following the release of the bodycam video, DPD released the names of the officers involved — Meagan Lieberson, Brandon Ramos and Kenneth Rowland. All three remain on modified duty, according to the department.