DA King calls on Colorado Attorney General for a pattern and practice review

GOLDEN, Colo. (Jun. 29, 2023) – District Attorney Alexis King announced today that earlier this week, she submitted a formal request to Attorney General Phil Weiser to open a pattern and practice investigation into the Edgewater Police Department (EPD). The request is in accordance with the law enforcement accountability bill passed in 2020, which authorizes the attorney general to investigate a governmental agency for engaging in a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates state or federal constitutions or laws.

On September 14, 2021, DA King launched an investigation after an EPD officer reported several misconduct allegations within the department. In addition, Black Hawk Police Chief Michelle Moriarty also called upon our office for a formal investigation into the actions of the past administration. As a result, in December 2022, a former EPD officer was indicted for Unlawful Sexual Contact and Retaliation Against a Witness, and a second case was recently filed against the same officer for Attempt to Influence a Public Servant and Forgery. It’s important to note that those charges are merely legal allegations; the former officer has pled not guilty and is presumed innocent.

During the investigation into the former officer’s conduct, investigators were made aware of several incidents between 2016-2021 where certain members of EPD may have violated the constitutional rights and privileges of individuals in Colorado. Our investigation also revealed that prior to the appointment of the new chief in May 2022, internal culture was fraught with bullying, retaliation, and bending of the rules. The events that have taken place, as well as those surrounding the pending cases, go against policies that are in place to protect both the community and officers.

After a review of the investigation and application of relevant legal standards, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office determined that, at this time, there will be no additional criminal charges. However, these events and allegations of misconduct must be addressed with accountability to ensure they do not recur in the future.

“The Edgewater Police Department is home to many dedicated, hardworking police officers who serve and protect their community with integrity,” said District Attorney Alexis King. “Still, I am aware of events that undermine the trust that is critical for public safety and our justice system, and as the District Attorney for the First Judicial District, I believe that a pattern or practice review is a necessary catalyst for change, both for the community and the new chief of police, who has been fully cooperative with our investigation.”