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, June 27, 2008

Beaten Teen Suing For $3 Million

The lawyers for a teenager who claims he was severely beaten by Denver police officers after a foot chase are asking for damages of at least $3 million.

Attorneys for Juan G. Vasquez initially made a settlement offer of $1.3 million to the city. However, the lawyers filed an amendment to their complaint on Friday in U.S. District Court demanding at least $3 million.

Andrew J. O'Conner, a law clerk for the Colorado Christian Defense Counsel firm representing Vasquez, said the amended amount is to cover treatment for their client's kidneys that they claim were injured by the officers.

"Juan Vasquez may have to be on dialysis," O'Conner said Friday referring to a treatment for patients who lose the function of their kidneys. "It looks like he may lose his kidney."

The amended lawsuit also lists Veronica Gonzalez as a plaintiff and the guardian for Vasquez, who is a minor. Gonzalez is the teen's cousin.

Thomas G. Bigler, an assistant city attorney, said he was served with the amended version Friday and had not had an opportunity to review the document.

In addition to his kidney injuries Vasquez suffered suffered a lacerated liver and fractured ribs, according to the attorneys.

The suit alleges that Officer Charles Porter held the top of a fence with both hands and then jumped up and down on the teen's back when other officers had Vasquez on the ground and were trying to arrest him. Also listed as defendants are four "unnamed Denver police officers," the police department, and the city.

The city's initial answer to the suit said Porter acted in self-defense and used reasonable force to subdue Vasquez.

Rocky Mountain News