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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.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Denver police officer suspended during excessive-force investigation - The Denver Post

Denver police officer suspended during excessive-force investigation - The Denver Post

Denver police Officer Michael Morelock has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation into allegations of use of excessive force.

Morelock, 30, began working for the Denver Police Department in 2006 and racked up 21 claims of excessive force against him over his first two years in the department, according to a federal lawsuit filed last week.

Last year he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Denver police spokesman John White said an internal investigation began Feb. 11. Morelock has been suspended with pay since then.

Manager of Safety Al LaCabe said a decision on Morelock's employment status has not been made pending the outcome of the investigation.

Lawsuit cites lie, beating

On Wednesday, Denver resident Tyler Mustard filed a federal lawsuit against the city and county of Denver, Morelock and Officer Kimberly Thompson.

The claim says Morelock beat him without provocation and lied about being hit by Mustard during the arrest.

Mustard claims Thompson helped Morelock beat him near East 12th Avenue and Pearl Street on June 17, 2008, because they suspected he spray-painted a van.

Mustard's lawsuit says he had head injuries and a collapsed lung after he was beaten with a flashlight or a baton.

Denver prosecutors charged Mustard with assaulting a police officer.

During a preliminary hearing in that case, Morelock testified that Mustard struck him in the head with a blunt object and said he almost lost consciousness.

Mustard's suit says Morelock didn't tell medical personnel that his head was injured and claims he made it up to justify the beating.

A Denver judge dismissed the criminal case against Mustard.

Mustard's lawsuit claims that just hours before Morelock arrested him, the officer was questioned by internal affairs about an excessive force allegation made by Alonzo Barrett.

Barrett told police that Morelock beat him with a billy club and that witnesses saw Morelock break his own patrol car window during the incident. Morelock contended Barrett broke his window, the suit claims.

The internal affairs bureau referred the Barrett case to the Denver district attorney. Prosecutors declined to prosecute Morelock, the suit says.

Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the district attorney, said prosecutors could not locate the file late Friday but said it's likely charges could not be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

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