DENVER (AP) — The family of a man who suffocated as Denver sheriff’s deputies restrained him during a psychotic episode has reached a $4.6 million settlement with the city, attorneys said Wednesday.
Michael Marshall, 50, died in 2015 after he was restrained in a prone position for several minutes because he became aggressive with another inmate and ignored commands. He choked on his own vomit and suffocated.
Attorneys for Marshall’s family and the city of Denver said the settlement also requires the sheriff’s department to fill two mental health provider positions at its jail facilities, conduct training on mental illness for all deputies and change other procedures.
“The family is very glad that Denver has agreed to provide mental health treatment in the jails,” Rodney Marshall, Michael Marshall’s brother, said in a statement. “If Michael could have been treated as a man in medical need, instead of like a criminal who was disobeying orders, he would still be alive today.”
The settlement still must be approved by the City Council, which plans to vote Nov. 13.
“Mr. Marshall’s death has had a significant impact on his family, the community and the Denver Sheriff Department, including the involved deputies,” City Attorney Kristin Bronson said. “We hope the settlement we’ve proposed to City Council will foster an environment of collective healing, as well as bolster the city’s ongoing efforts in its jails to accommodate inmates who suffer from mental health issues.”
The city announced in April that two jail deputies and a supervisor would be disciplined in Marshall’s death.
Prosecutors have declined to file criminal charges, saying the deputies weren’t trying to hurt him.
The settlement comes after the city paid $6 million in 2014 to the family of Marvin Booker, a homeless street preacher who died after a struggle with jail deputies.
Denver’s former prosecutor also declined to file charges in that case. In September, city District Attorney Beth McCann asked a grand jury to reinvestigate Booker’s 2010 death based on new information his family raised in a federal civil rights lawsuit.
By KATHLEEN FOODY, Associated Press
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