By Rick Sallinger
DENVER (CBS4)– The City of Denver has announced a multi-million dollar settlement in the 2015 death of a detention center inmate after being restrained by deputies.
After the agreement was made public, members of the family of Michael Marshall went to the jail.
For Natalia Marshall it was a return to where her uncle lost his life. On her shirt a picture of him in better days.
He suffered from mental illness and she recalled him talking to trees and other objects.
“I would say, ‘Uncle, who are you talking to?’ He would say, ‘The fence. I was saying bye. You have to talk to everyone,’” she said.
Talk did not play a role here. He attempted to move past deputies in the jail. They pushed him back and restrained him.
A spit mask was placed on his head, he threw up and began choking.
Natalia spoke for her family.
“If they had the proper training maybe they would have approached him differently,” she said at a news conference.
Now city officials announced a $4.65 million dollar settlement. That also includes mental health training for deputies
Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman says there will be more training for those who work in the jails.
“To help them understand mental health and how to de-escalate those individuals,” he said with City Attorney Kristin Bronson speaking with him.
Outside the jail family members of Marshall, clergy and attorneys gathered.
Darold Killmer said Marshall’s death could have been prevented, “No mental health professionals were called in because none were on duty at the time.”
Calling the changes “The Marshall Rights” the jails will now have full time around the clock mental health professionals to deal with mentally ill individuals.
Natalia Marshall told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger it is a field she is very familiar with, “I work in that community and I see it every day I go to work.”
Her uncle was homeless and schizophrenic.
As they gathered outside the jail in prayer one member of the clergy remarked, “Money won’t bring him back.”
Although some deputies were disciplined, no criminal charges were filed. The city council must approve the settlement agreement.