Perhaps it’s the fact that Governor Hickenlooper’s new chief of staff, Doug Friednash, has had a finger in so many controversial pies in Colorado during his tenure as Denver City Attorney and as a private practice lawyer that uniquely qualifies him for this position. But unlike Hickenlooper, Friednash has taken a strong stand on Colorado issues that might leave a some Coloradans…a tad uncomfortable.
For instance, that time in 2013 when then-city attorney Friednash dismissed excessive force claims against the Denver Police Department, calling cities “targets” for excessive force lawsuits, and that settling was a “business decision,” since “[t]he city is definitely not making out a blank check when people bring a lawsuit.” His statement seems tone deaf given the severity of some of the accusations. Additionally, a victim of excessive force successfully sued and was awarded $40,000 in damages. The city refused to pay and the police officer could not cover the cost. We hope that the victim was not just out of luck on this one.
On the (liberal) political front, Real Clear Politics reports that as lead counsel to Udall’s 2008 U.S. Senate campaign, Friednash was outraged by a Freedom Watch ad, saying in a letter to KUSA and KTFD:
The offensive representations and slanderous image directly tie Mark Udall to the use and promotion of marijuana. This is an outrageous portrayal that finds no credence whatsoever in fact.
Except that Udall was actually arrested for possession of marijuana (and some other things…) in 1973, which we can’t imagine he didn’t know as Udall’s lead counsel. Ooops. Of course, just last month, Denver Business Journal reported that Friedman himself was working with South Carolina Lawyer Mark Mason to open the nation’s first marijuana credit union in Colorado.
As Gov. Hickenlooper’s chief of staff, trust that we’ll be keeping a close eye on Doug Friednash for more truth-skirting on major state issues.