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.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

U.S. Justice Department weighs investigation of Denver law enforcement - The Denver Post

U.S. Justice Department weighs investigation of Denver law enforcement - The Denver Post

The U.S. Department of Justice is in the "threshold stage" of deciding whether to investigate Denver's law enforcement agencies for civil-rights violations.

"We are reviewing the information to make a judgment and see if one is warranted," said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil-rights division. "We are reviewing that in the case of Denver."

After a decade of arrests involving alleged brutality, more than $6 million in settlements, questionable fatal shootings and the recent death of a man in the Denver jail, some Denver residents renewed their call for a federal investigation of the city's police and sheriff's departments.

The most recent catalyst was the death of homeless preacher Marvin Booker, who died last year after a scuffle with Denver sheriff's deputies in the jail. The deputies were cleared of wrongdoing.

This week, a video surfaced showing Deputy Joseph Webster using a chokehold on an inmate in the same jail. Webster was fired in January for using excessive force and lying about the incident, first reported by KDVR-Channel 31.

The Sheriff Department, which runs the jail, is separate from Denver police, but community groups still lump them together when citing what they call a pattern of abuses by law enforcement.

Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman declined to comment, and Sheriff Department Director of Corrections Gary Wilson couldn't be reached. The Manager of Safety's Office, which governs both the police and sheriff departments, referred calls for comment to the mayor's office.

"Denver will cooperate fully if an investigation into Denver's law enforcement practices is launched," said Mayor Guillermo "Bill" Vidal. "We are proud of the reforms we have implemented in the Department of Safety during the past few years — creation of discipline matrixes for the Police and Sheriff Departments, establishment of the Office of the Independent Monitor and the Citizen Oversight Board, and the elimination of the Discipline Review Board to speed the discipline process — and we are confident that any such investigation would find that Denver's police and sheriff departments follow best practices and standards of law enforcement."

Probes skirted in past

The Justice Department has come close to examining Denver law enforcement for civil-rights violations in the past but an investigation has never materialized, partly because the city responded to complaints before a federal probe was launched.

Read more: U.S. Justice Department weighs investigation of Denver law enforcement - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/ci_18101735#ixzz1MtmgKfGn
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1 comment:

Florida Lemon Law said...

I'm just wondering. In all this, where is the accountability on the part of the head of the Sheriff's Department?? It seems that the bulk of criticism, both in the media and on the part of the mayoral candidates is focused on Whitman. What's not fair is to saddle him with responsibility for actions committed by sheriff's department deputies. When is it Gary Wilson's turn to step up to the plate and accept responsibility for his own department. In all that I see, that seems to be missing. I have yet to hear Hancock or Romer, make a single statement regarding Wilson's future. Some from the media really should ask them that! It's not fair for Gary Wilson to hide behind Whitman.
Florida Lemon Law