Victims of mistaken identity are crying foul over Denver’s habit of throwing the wrong people in jail, reports the Denver Post. An African student, a mom, a Latino construction worker, a high school teacher, and a disabled garbage man sued the city for “recklessly sloppy police work.” “I know people say they’re innocent and sometimes they’re not. But sometimes they really, truly are,” said Christina FourHorn, who spent five days behind bars and nearly lost her job because of city screw-ups.
Denver police last year paid $18,000 in damages and legal fees for wrongly jailing an Aurora woman after an officer incorrectly identified her as a suspect. That error didn’t stop the city from mistaking FourHorn for a suspect seven years younger and 90 pounds lighter, then accusing the home-care worker of cheating on her husband. Officials try to justify the arrests by citing a heavy workload in which the city books more than 47,000 people a year. They contend that law enforcers “err on the side of caution,” as if locking up the wrong people somehow should make people feel safer. “In every one of these cases, police had to ignore facts that they were arresting the wrong person,” said American Civil Liberties Union legal director Mark Silverstein, claiming the city “knowingly tolerated” problems with its procedures.