Denver DA Won’t File Charges against Corrections Deputies Responsible for Inmate’s Death
As we were preparing to make our recent trip to Colorado, the district attorney in Denver decided not to file criminal charges against the group of corrections deputies who, according to the coroner, were responsible for the death of an inmate in a local jail.
Marvin Booker, who was preacher and homeless, was 56 years old. He was 5-foot-5 and weighed 135 pounds, and suffered from emphysema and an enlarged heart. Back in July, Booker was arrested on the misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, and he was waiting to be booked when a conflict arose. All of it was caught on video, which the state refuses to make public. DA Mitch Morrissey said in a statement that Booker refused to follow an order from a female deputy, then cursed her and “violently resisted.” …
But DA Morrissey insists that Booker alone was responsible for his own demise. “Mr. Booker’s actions and choices resulted in his death,” he said in a statement, suggesting that unruly behavior by a prisoner justifies a use of force sufficient to kill him. “Had he complied, had he given them his arms, had he gone to the holding cell when he was asked to,” Morrissey said, ”this never would have happened.”
So, here’s one reason of many to end the War on Drugs: police wouldn’t be able to arrest and book people on charges like “misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.” In the meantime, take note: if you’re ever arrested in Denver, show anything less than total physical submission to the guards who are booking you, and apparently it’s your own fault if four guards lay on top of you and a fifth Tasers you, and you stop breathing and die. More from DA Morrissey: “Arrestee compliance is not optional, it is mandatory.” Combine that stance on the part of state officials with the Supreme Court’s position that pretextual or spiteful arrests on petty charges don’t violate the Constitution, and you have a pretty terrifying state of affairs.
Leaders from Denver’s black community have called for an FBI investigation.