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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.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Denver ordered to turn over documents related to complaints about police use of excessive force - The Denver Post

Denver ordered to turn over documents related to complaints about police use of excessive force - The Denver Post

A clearly peeved federal judge on Wednesday ordered Denver to turn over a trove of documents related to the city Police Department's handling of excessive-force complaints against its officers.

The documents include records of every excessive-force complaint filed against a Denver police officer or sheriff's deputy in the past eight years, as well as all documents showing what the departments did with those complaints and whether they imposed discipline on the officers involved. The city must also turn over any internal studies done on use of force by police officers.

Senior U.S. District Judge John Kane, who issued the order, also blasted the city for failing to turn over the documents sooner.

"Further obstruction will not be tolerated," Kane wrote.

Attorneys for Jason Graber — who has sued the city, saying officers roughed him up and severely injured his leg after he objected to what he said was an insult from one of the officers — say the documents are needed to prove their claim that the city has a "continuing, persistent and widespread practice of unconstitutional misconduct by its law enforcement."

The scope of the documents ordered released — police disciplinary records are normally closely guarded — is unprecedented, said Qusair Mohamedbhai, one of Graber's attorneys.

"No judge has ever compelled Denver to produce this amount of discovery related to its officers' use of force," Mohamedbhai said.

Denver city attorney David Broadwell declined to comment on the order. Wil Alston, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Hancock, said Wednesday afternoon that Hancock was not aware of the order and could not comment.

An attorney for Denver Officer Shawn Miller, who is also named in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment.

Graber filed suit against the city and Miller in 2009, alleging Miller and another officer violated his constitutional rights by using excessive force on him and seizing him without probable cause during an incident in downtown Denver.

In March, Kane dismissed most of Graber's case, saying Graber had failed to provide evidence that the officers' actions stemmed from the department's overall culture.

But after Graber's attorneys argued that Denver had stonewalled their requests for the needed excessive-force documents — some of which the city did provide in a separate excessive- force suit against Miller — Kane reversed his decision and ordered the city to hand over the documents, against the city's objection.

Kane said the city could have avoided the trouble by turning over the documents earlier.

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