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.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey announced today that no charges will be filed in the death of man at the new Denver jail.
The deputies who subdued Marvin Booker on July 9 were justified in their use of force, he said in a news release.
Booker was a slightly built 56-year-old street preacher who died after being restrained by five sheriff's deputies in the booking area of the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Facility. He had been arrested for alleged possession of drug paraphernalia.
Booker, after disobeying an order about his shoes, was placed in a sleeper or carotid hold on the floor and shocked by a Taser — deputies piled on top of him, according to the coroner's report.
isolation cell. An inmate later noticed and told authorities Booker wasn't breathing.
The coroner ruled Aug. 20 Booker's death a homicide.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said in statement that the internal affairs investigation is ongoing.
"The Denver Sheriff Department is investigating the case with the oversight of the Office of Independent Monitor and ultimate review by the Manager of Safety," the statement said. "The deputies involved remain on investigatory leave during the internal affairs investigation.
Booker's family and supporters have been seeking the release of the videotape of his jailhouse death.
Rev. Timothy Tyler, the pastor of Denver's Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church, today asked for the videotape with a letter signed by 500 people. He and a few other AME pastors planned to personally deliver the request to Morrissey's office before the decision on charges was announced.
"The family wants to see the last few minutes of their loved one's life," Tyler said.
He isn't asking for public release to media or even attorneys — only Booker's family would see it, Tyler said. Morrissey has not responded to this specific request, Tyler said, but only repeats there will be no public release.
The statement from Hickenlooper seemed to indicate that might happen.
"We are committed to working with Mr. Booker's family and their attorneys to arrange a private viewing of the jail video," the mayor said. "The video will be made available to the public at the conclusion of the internal affairs investigation and disciplinary process."
Tyler is a friend of the Booker family, which has confronted Denver authorities demanding justice for Marvin. Booker's father, Benjamin Booker, is an elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The short letter Tyler delivered read in part: "Though I agree it is important to preserve and protect any evidence that can be used in a potential criminal investigation, I do not believe showing this video exclusively to the immediate members of the Booker family will in any way taint or harm the investigation."
It further states: "As a resident of this community, I believe this action will go a long way in restoring trust in the Denver justice system."