Eric Williams, the deputy director of the Denver Department of Safety, resigned Wednesday, a department spokeswoman confirmed.
Williams, an appointee of Mayor Michael Hancock, was in charge of the Public Integrity Division. The group was created to set internal investigation policies after the death of Michael Marshall, who died in the custody of the Denver Sheriff Department.
The division is supposed to outline how independent Denver residents will play a key role in the internal investigations of the sheriff department.
“If you look back at the report we did on the death of Michael Marshall, we recommended the civilianization of Internal Affairs and this committee is establishing the policies for the new civilian unit that will be charged with investigating misconduct in the jails,” said Independent Monitor Nick Mitchell, the city’s independent law enforcement watchdog. “So it’s very important for accountability.”
Robert Davis, a Denver resident who sits on the committee, told Denverite its procedures underwent significant changes over the last couple of months. According to Davis, the mayor’s office deployed former deputy mayor Murphy Robinson to speed things up by forcing the group to vote up or down on thick policy documents. That approach is problematic, Davis said, because the number of city government employees with votes far outnumbers the number of “community members.”
He believes the Hancock administration pushed Williams out because his attempts to build consensus were taking too long.
“One of the concerns that I raised at the beginning was that I didn’t want to be part of the process where the conclusion was pre-planned,” Davis said. “I really believed when it was first started, and still believe, that it is a dog and pony show meant to check boxes.”
The mayor’s office refused to confirm details beyond the fact that Williams resigned. It also directed the Denver Police Department and the Department of Safety not to answer questions from reporters and to redirect them to the mayor’s office.
This is a developing story and will be updated.