Jefferson County District Attorney Alexis King on Thursday announced that her office has asked the Colorado attorney general to open an investigation into the conduct of the Edgewater Police Department, an agency her office described as being “fraught with bullying, retaliation and bending of the rules.”
The request for a “pattern and practice” investigation comes on the heels of new charges levied this week against a former Edgewater police officer, Nathan Geerdes, accused of sexually assaulting a fellow officer, falsifying documents and retaliating against a witness.
A subsequent investigation found that, between 2016 and 2021, certain members of the small police department “may have violated the constitutional rights and privileges of individuals in Colorado,” the DA’s office said in a news release.
“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,” King said in a statement.
A 2020 law, SB20-217, gave Attorney General Phil Weiser the authority to investigate a government agency for patterns of misconduct that violate state or federal constitutions or laws. The attorney general has publicly announced only one other pattern and practice investigation — a 2020 probe of the Aurora Police Department.
A spokesperson for the AG’s office, Lawrence Pacheco, said they “are aware of the district attorney’s referral and we’ll take it under consideration.”
Edgewater police and city officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A Jefferson and Gilpin county grand jury indicted Geerdes in December, accusing him of sexually assaulting a female officer in two separate incidents in 2019 after leaving a holiday party. Prosecutors also accused the officer of retaliating against a witness. Geerdes, authorities said, was upset with another officer for “ratting him out” and falsifying information during the investigation, the DA’s office said. He allegedly threatened to “ruin the officer’s career and go after the officer’s family.”
Geerdes resigned from the Edgewater force in March 2021. Six months later, the Black Hawk Police Department hired him.
After prosecutors announced the initial charges in December, Black Hawk police Chief Michelle Moriarty fired Geerdes and asked King’s office to investigate the previous Edgewater administration.
A resulting probe found Geerdes had allegedly forged official documents pertaining to five Colorado law enforcement agencies, including the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Arvada Police Department, RTD Transit Police Department, Dacono Police Department and the Black Hawk Police Department, prosecutors said.
The district attorney charged Geerdes on June 22 with five additional counts of attempt to influence public servants.
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