Former Inmate Could Get $3.25 Million Settlement From Denver
DENVER (CBS4) – A former Denver Detention Center inmate who was beaten behind bars may soon become a millionaire.
The City of Denver had been talking about settling a lawsuit with the man who was tortured while behind bars and the payout could be the city’s largest.
“He turned a blind eye to what was going on. Actually turned off the lights while the attack was going on,” said victim Jamal Hunter.
City Attorney Scott Martinez and a representative of the former inmate, Jamal Hunter, held a news conference about the agreement Tuesday afternoon where Denver officials announced the proposal of a $3.25 million payout to Hunter.
“This is a fiscally responsible action take on behalf of tax payers and we understand the potential damages and attorney fees could have exceeded the settlement amount if the litigation would have run its course,” said Martinez.
It still must be approved by the city council and the federal judge overseeing the lawsuit and is not an admission of liability.
“We are committed to addressing the issues at hand,” Martinez said.
Hunter claimed his grievances weren’t properly handled by authorities after he was tortured in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in 2011 by fellow inmates. He also claimed a sheriff’s deputy allowed and encouraged the attack where Hunter said among other injuries his genitals were badly burned with scalding water.
Surveillance video from the jail showed Hunter being chocked by another deputy two weeks later.
Hunter’s allegations led to a U.S. District Judge asking for an investigation into the practices of the Denver police and sheriff’s departments.
The settlement announcement came a day after Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson stepped down amid allegations of excessive force against inmates and internal misconduct.
“Yesterday, I promised a new level of accountability at the Sheriff’s Department. The settlement of this case sets us on a clear path toward reform,” Mayor Michael Hancock said.
“Jamal Hunter feels that his civil rights have been vindicated,” his attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai said. “He is proud to be an instrument of change.”
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