The man who was shot and killed by Denver police July 1 during downtown morning rush hour had a long history of petty crimes and confrontations with authorities.
Charles James Barela, 22, was often punished with small stints in jail for misdemeanor crimes, according to Denver court records. He repeatedly violated probation rules, often by committing new crimes, and was jailed over and over again, Denver District Court records show.
Most recently, he was was sentenced March 22 to 180 days in jail for violating probation for a drug charge and was given credit for 149 days already served, court records said. His probation in that drug case was revoked and reinstated three times.
On the day Barela was killed, he had been reported by fellow RTD bus passengers for an outburst where he smashed a windshield. When officers found Barela he was walking down Lincoln Street, brandishing a gun, as three lanes of traffic flowed toward downtown.
He first was confronted by an RTD officer and then Denver Police Department officers took over. Barela was killed by a Denver police officer after ignoring orders to drop his gun, which he had fired at least once.
The officer-involved shooting remains under investigation.
It was the second time Barela had a brush with police officers.
On the morning of July 27, 2018, Barela’s ex-boyfriend called police after finding Barela inside his car and throwing things around, according to a probable cause statement. When officers arrived to the 12600 block of East 44th Avenuen, Barela pushed an officer as he tried to flee. The case was dismissed.
Barela’s criminal record dates back to 2015 when he was arrested for misdemeanor theft on the 1600 block of Wazee Street and shoplifting on the 7800 block of East Smith Road. He served 9 days in jail and one year of probation on the theft conviction and 15 days of jail on the shoplifting case.
In 2017, Barela was arrested on a felony drug charge and for public fighting. He pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor drug count and was placed on probation.
On June 25, 2018, Barela was in the emergency room of Denver Health Medical Center, 777 N. Bannock St., when he threw a filled container of his urine onto the right side of a nurse assistant, according to a Denver County Court probable cause statement. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail for misdemeanor assault in that case and was required to receive a mental health evaluation, a Denver County Court record said.