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.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Family of Marvin Booker sues Denver in jail death - The Denver Post

Family of Marvin Booker sues Denver in jail death - The Denver Post

The family of Marvin Louis Booker filed a lawsuit today against the city in Denver District Court following his death last summer in the new county jail.

"It seems like the officers have a license to kill," said Booker's father, Rev. Benjamin Booker, 82, in a news conference outside the courthouse this morning. "The officers ought to protect you, not kill you."

Booker, 56, a homeless street preacher who often recited Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, was jailed on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia.

While trying to retrieve his shoes in the early morning hours of July 9, he got into a scuffle with a booking deputy. Deputies shocked him with a Taser, struck him in the legs with nunchucks, put him in a carotid "sleeper hold" and lay atop him in an effort to control him. He stopped breathing.

The coroner's office ruled that his death was a homicide. Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey declined to charge the deputies.

Darold Killmer, attorney for the Booker family, said the family is only seeking justice and has not specified how much money they are seeking.

Undersheriff Gary Wilson said an internal investigation is continuing. He said new officers were added to the Internal Affairs Bureau to investigate the case. Meantime, all deputies who were involved in Booker's restraint remain on paid leave. Beyond that, the department declined to comment on the suit.

Members of the Booker family traveled from around the country to attend the news conference and several members including two siblings who are also pastors spoke. Marvin Booker was a pastor himself.

"Brutality must cease," said Rev. Spencer Booker, a pastor at Bethel AME Church in Kansas City, Mo.

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