Jury Awards $4.65 Million To Family Of Preacher Who Died In Denver Jail


A federal jury awarded a record $4.65 million to the family of a homeless street preacher who died during a struggle with deputies in Denver’s downtown jail while trying to retrieve his shoes, the Denver Post reports. The verdict came three months after the city agreed to pay $3.25 million to another former inmate who was choked by a jail deputy and scalded by inmates. It came one month after a a jury awarded nearly $2 million to a family targeted in a mistaken police raid.

Marvin Booker, 56, died on July 9, 2010. Four deputies and a sergeant shocked him with a Taser, put him in a “sleeper hold” and lay on top of him in an effort to control him during booking. City officials have not decided whether to appeal the judgment. In addition to the jury awards and settlements, the city has been embarrassed this year by a string of excessive-force cases that helped lead to the resignation of Sheriff Gary Wilson. “I think the Colorado community is finally saying enough is enough,” Booker family attorney Mari Newman said. “It seems like the police can’t police themselves. If law enforcement doesn’t do something then the community has to step in. I definitely think this is a wake-up call for the city of Denver.”

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