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Resource ID: #28907
Subject: Police Misconduct
Source: Susan Greene, Niki Turner
Affiliation: The Colorado Independent, Rio Blanco Herald Times
Date: November 7, 2019; November 8, 2019

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Description

Daniel Pierce was a newcomer to Rangely, Colorado, a rural outpost near the Utah border. Police Lt. Roy Kinney had gotten to know him, was aware he had paranoid schizophrenia, and even assured Pierce's mom in California he was fitting nicely into the community. A few days later, the lieutenant – who had eight hours of mental health training in his 28-year career – killed Pierce after a car chase riddled with missteps. Town leaders refused to discuss the incident. They wouldn't cooperate with investigators, speak to the local paper, or even say who was policing the town months later. This is the story of all the cracks Pierce fell through leading to what appears to have been his suicide-by-cop. It is also a story of small-town leaders determined to silence everyone involved. ​The Rio Blanco Herald Times wasn't able to break that silence and turned to ​The Colorado Independent​ for help getting to the bottom of Pierce's killing. Our reporting uncovered a long pattern of SNAFUs in the police department and misconduct by officers involved, a woeful lack of mental health training and crisis intervention resources, and efforts by town officials to shroud the incident and the aftermath in secrecy.
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