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Family Files Lawsuit Over Death Of Man In Denver Jail

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Marvin Booker (credit: CBS)

Marvin Booker (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- A family has formally sued the City of Denver over the death of a man while being held in the Denver County Jail.

Marvin Booker was in custody of the Denver Sheriff’s Department when he died in July. Deputies subdued him by putting him in a headlock and shocking him with a taser.

The coroner ruled Booker’s death a homicide. No charges have been filed.

There is video of those events before Booker’s death, but it has not been publicly released.

Booker’s family officially filed a lawsuit on Thursday. The suit claims there was a cover up by city officials in the aftermath of Booker’s death. Read CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger’s story here.

The family hopes the lawsuit will bring the release of the video of what happened to Booker in jail.

The Denver Sheriff’s Department released this statement on Thursday: “We have received several inquiries today regarding a lawsuit that has been filed by the family of Marvin Booker. I have not seen the lawsuit filed by the Booker family and therefore cannot comment on it.

The resolution of this case remains a priority for the Denver Sheriff Department. The internal investigation did not begin until October 2010 after the District Attorney’s decision to not file criminal charges. Additional investigators were added to our Internal Affairs Bureau and we continue to work closely with the Independent Monitor to ensure a fair and thorough investigation. The investigation is complex because there are a multitude of witnesses and a detailed review of the criminal investigation and the coroner’s findings is required.

We cannot state exactly how much longer the process will take but all involved, including the Independent Monitor are working diligently for a conclusion in the very near future.

We have worked with the family and honored their request to visit the area of the jail where the incident occurred. We continue to remain in communication with the family’s local representative to discuss the progress of the investigation. Several months ago, we offered the family a private viewing of the video with requirements of confidentiality until the case is resolved. Our offer has not been accepted. We cannot release the video publicly due to the on-going investigation and the requirement to preserve the integrity of the investigation. The video will be made available to the public when the investigation and review process is complete. The Manager of Safety will also release a formal public statement detailing the findings and all conclusions.

The use of the carotid restraint remains suspended and the involved Deputies remain on investigatory leave.

Gary Wilson,
Director of Corrections and Undersheriff

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