October 14, 2014
DENVER – A federal court jury today found Denver sheriff’s deputies used excessive force against Rev. Marvin L. Booker, who died at the Denver Jail in 2010, and awarded Rev. Booker’s family $4.6 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley issued the following statement:
“The ACLU of Colorado offers somber congratulations to the family of Rev. Marvin L. Booker and the attorneys that delivered justice today in the form of a record judgment against the City of Denver and the sheriff’s deputies who took Rev. Booker’s life. Marvin Booker was killed by excessive force, and no judgment can change that, but a clear message was sent today that the public demands accountability from law enforcement officers and the officials who oversee them.
“The City of Denver’s internal investigation in 2011 concluded that the deputies violated no policies and would face no discipline for putting the 56 year-old Booker in a chokehold, kneeling on his back while he was pinned to the ground, and shocking him with a taser while he was handcuffed, ultimately causing his death.
“As the ACLU of Colorado noted in our 2011 letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, ‘that decision, that a homicide carried out by Sheriff’s deputies carries no consequences, that Denver’s policies allow Sheriff’s deputies to take a prisoner’s life, fueled the already burning outrage in communities policed by Denver Law enforcement, especially among communities of color.’ Today, justice was delivered for the Booker family, but more needs to be done to stop law enforcement misconduct and to ensure that what happened to Marvin Booker does not happen again.
Read the 2011 ACLU letter to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting an investigation into the pattern and practice of police misconduct and civil rights violations by Denver Law enforcement: https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/co_doj.pdf
Visit our criminal justice page at: http://aclu-co.org/issues/criminal-justice/