Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cop Watch -- Video Tape Catches The Story

The officer involved got punished, but we aren't allowed to know what that is.

  • DENVER POST - If you pay taxes in Denver and would like to see where your money is going, go to ACLU-CO.org. Click the May 16 news release. Then, click the link to the videotape of a policeman arresting a CopWatch volunteer for trying to record someone else's arrest.

    Listen carefully and you will hear the worst truth about this city's finest: Even with civilians keeping tabs, it's hard to say how Denver police might behave.

    "Sir, here's your ID back," Denver cop Jeffrey Morgan says to college student and CopWatch volunteer Evan Herzoff. "Why don't you step into the alley so I don't have to take you to jail?"

    "No problem," replies Herzoff. "By the way, can I have your card?"

    "Actually," Morgan responds, "let's take you to jail."

    "I'm just asking for your card," Herzoff says.

    "He's going to jail for trespassing," the cop concludes.

    That conversation will cost Denver taxpayers 8,500 bucks.

    It also shows how a single officer's abuse of police power helps undermine confidence in an entire department.

    Herzoff captured his exchange with Morgan in the audio portion of a videotape he made April 8, 2006. Herzoff taped police arresting another person. But Morgan decided to also charge Herzoff with trespassing and haul him off to jail for a night. The videotape became the basis for a cash settlement the city reached Wednesday with Herzoff and the American Civil Liberties Union.

    If Herzoff had not captured Morgan's words on tape, there would have been nothing but the claim of a civilian against a cop. That might have saved Denver residents some money. It would not have made them safer.

    "The videotape was certainly significant evidence," said Richard Rosenthal, the city's independent police monitor.

    "If I hadn't had that tape," Herzoff added, "it might have turned out worse."

    Prosecutors dropped Herzoff's trespassing charge as soon as they heard his tape.

  • The Denver Post

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