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.
Bob Rigg sat at the wheel of his crumpled red Mustang, staring straight ahead as if in a trance, oblivious to traffic and the commands of the police officers around him.
It was Sept. 9, 2009, on West Alameda Avenue near South Pierce Street in Lakewood, a short time after Rigg had crashed into an RTD bus and then driven away. Now he was stopped, his car pointed west in the eastbound lanes.
The officers who pulled him from the driver's seat saw the thousand-yard stare, the sweat pouring from his body and the brown bottle of pills in his pocket and apparently concluded he was stoned. They handcuffed him, put him in a police car and headed for jail, suspecting that he was driving under the influence of drugs and in a trancelike state sometimes referred to as "excited delirium."
But Bob Rigg wasn't on drugs. He was diabetic and suffering from heart disease, and he was dying.
Six minutes passed before an officer called for an ambulance, according to records. That ambulance was canceled after a sergeant decided Rigg should be driven to a hospital in a patrol car.
On the way, Rigg stopped breathing, and officers again called for an ambulance.
In the end, roughly 14 minutes passed between the moment Lakewood officers first encountered an incoherent Rigg and the time a paramedic with advanced life-support training arrived to treat him.
The time lag occurred despite a Lakewood police training bulletin, put out five months earlier, that warned officers that someone experiencing "excited delirium" — a state that could include confusion and profuse sweating — "should be treated as if he is in a medical crisis."