Marvin Booker's family upset at delay in lawsuit against city, deputies they say caused his death
Justice for the family of Marvin Booker may have to wait. On Monday, Booker's brother, sister-in-law and cousins stood in front of the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. in City Park and expressed their disappointment that the civil lawsuit they filed against the city and the sheriff's deputies whose actions they say led to Booker's death at the Denver jail in July 2010 will now be delayed. The trial was supposed to start today.
"We know for a fact that it was a murder that night," said Booker's brother, Spencer Booker, a preacher in Kansas City. "They need to face us."
On July 9, 2010, the 56-year-old Booker was brought to the Van-Cise Simonet Detention Center after he was arrested for failing to appear in court for a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. He spent several hours in the jail's processing area, mostly sleeping. At some point, he took off his shoes "for comfort," according to the lawsuit.
Melanie Asmar Attorney Darold Killmer, flanked by Booker's family, speaks on Monday.
Attorneys for Booker and the city differ on what happened next. In the civil lawsuit Booker's family filed in October 2011 against the city, four law enforcement officers, Denver Health and two nurses, attorney Darold Killmer recounts the events like this: When Booker's name was finally called, he began walking toward the booking desk -- without his shoes. When he realized he didn't have them, he told the deputy who'd called his name that he needed to retrieve them from underneath his chair.
The deputy told him not to, but Booker didn't listen. The deputy then "pursued Mr. Booker and grabbed his arm in an attempt to restrain him," Killmer wrote. "In what may fairly be described as a massive over-reaction, four other deputies then rushed in, violently restraining each of Mr. Booker's limbs and wrestling him" to the floor. One deputy put him in a "sleeper hold," while others attempted to subdue him with nunchucks, handcuffs and a Taser. They then carried his "limp, lifeless" body to a holding cell and left him until someone realized he wasn't breathing and called for help.
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