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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.

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

Friday, July 23, 2010

Witness says 'excessive force' killed inmate; protests held at Denver jail - KDVR

Witness says 'excessive force' killed inmate; protests held at Denver jail - KDVR
DENVER - An activist group in Denver is calling for justice and seeking answers in the death of Marvin Booker, who died at the new Denver city jail two weeks ago.

"Copwatch demands justice and we're going to stay on top of this case until we get justice!" activist Shareef Aleem told the crowd gathered at the jail.

West Denver CopWatch organized a rally and vigil Thursday night to bring attention to the case.

More than 50 people showed up demanding to know what really happened to Booker.

They arrived about 6:00 p.m. carrying signs and holding pictures and calling for city officials to give them more information.

Darold Killmer, the attorney for Booker's family, claims the city is hiding details about his death and told the crowd.

"We have questions as to why Marvin Booker would die at the hands of sheriff's deputies. These people are there to serve and protect," Killmer said.

Booker, 56, was being processed at the jail on the morning of July 9 when deputies used a taser gun to try to control him. He died a short time later.

FOX31 News spoke with an inmate who witnessed the incident, but he didn't want to be identified. He described how deputies had Booker in a choke hold just moments before he was tased,

"I think his death had something to do with that choke hold, the taser did not kill him," said the witness. "The taser was the last thing they did."

" I think he was dead before then, they either broke his neck or choked him," he added.

The witness called it "excessive force" on a man who was much smaller than the deputies who retrained him.

"For them to even jump on him the way they did was out of line. Even to put him in a choke hold was out of line. I've done way worse than that and I've never been put in a choke hold."

The rally continued with a symbolic move of people removing their shoes. Booker was reaching for his shoes when the scuffle started. But despite the attention the case is getting, the city is urging residents to be patient.

City officials say they will not release any information about the case until their investigation is completed and the autopsy results are in.

However, FOX31 News did speak to Richard Rosenthal, the Independent Monitor who oversees police investigations.

"I responded to the in-custody death the night it happened," Rosenthal said. "I monitored the homicide detectives who conducted the interviews and I will continue to monitor the entire investigation to insure that it's thorough, complete and done correctly."

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