DENVER (CBS4) – The City Council on Monday approved the largest settlement in Denver history for a former jail inmate who accused sheriff’s deputies of abusing him and looking the other way as other inmates attacked him.
Jamal Hunter will receive $3.25 million as part of the deal. His attorney filed a civil suit in 2011 after he was beaten, scalded and scarred by inmates at the city and county jail.
“The settlement agreement between Mr. Hunter and the city and county of Denver has required the city to make major changes in how they operate in the jail, in how the city attorney’s office defends these types of cases in the future,” Qusair Mohamedbhai, Hunter’s attorney, said.
Those changes include requirements that the city hire an independent third party to review the sheriff’s department and the city attorney’s office.
“We have the ability to go to court to ensure that there will be change if Denver doesn’t voluntarily do it,” said City Attorney Scott Martinez, who added that an outside firm has already been hired. “The court’s role ends upon the engagement of the outside firm and so the court’s oversight ends.”
The judge in the case must sign off on the city’s choice of a law firm and the settlement.
Hunter’s case was one of several embarrassments the sheriff’s office suffered in recent years that led to former Sheriff Gary Wilson quitting his post in July.
Outside the City Council’s meeting, supporters of Marvin Booker, who died at the jail, gathered to demand justice for his 2010 death. He died after deputies tasered him. The district attorney’s office didn’t file charges, arguing that Booker, who was in jail for carrying drug paraphernalia, was being unruly and a danger to inmates and deputies.
Booker’s supporters said they want the deputy involved in his death — and in Hunter’s case — to be punished.
“We want to make sure the city of Denver knows they need to punish those who have committed the crimes,” said Pastor Timothy Tyler of Community AME Church.