$3.25 million settlement in Jamal Hunter suit latest blemish on Denver Sheriff's Department

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Jamal Hunter in a photo shared in his lawsuit. More images plus videos and documents below.
Denver is trying to change the subject away from troubles at the city's sheriff's department. But doing so is costly.

A day after Sheriff Gary Wilson resigned (and news broke that interim chief Elias Diggins has a criminal record), City Attorney Scott Martinez announced a deal to pay $3.25 million to settle a lawsuit filed by inmate Jamal Hunter that resulted in revelations of porn, pot, drunkenness and brutality at Denver's jail.

See also: Porn, pot, drunkenness and brutality allegedly routine in Denver jail, new docs claim

Below, we've included a June 13 post about the Hunter suit, including original documents, videos and images that same readers may find disturbing. The complaint was filed in 2012 against the City and County of Denver and individual law enforcers, who former inmate Hunter accused of failing to properly protect him after he says inmates scalded his genitals with boiling water and two deputies attacked him.

The later assault was captured on surveillance video, from which the following image is culled:

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The man on the right in this photo is Deputy Thomas Ford. He's not mentioned by name in Hunter's lawsuit, but he subsequently became the center of attention after a video surfaced showing him punching out a non-violent inmate. Here's that clip.

The video's seventeen seconds appear to have inspired Denver mayor Michael Hancock to finally make changes at the department, accepting Wilson's resignation as sheriff (he's still a division chief) and appointing Diggins to fill in until a permanent hire can be made. But the Hunter matter continued to cast a shadow. Hence the decision to pony up $3.25 million to make it go away.

The payout, announced at a press conference yesterday featuring Martinez and Hunter attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai, still must be approved by the Denver City Council. If it is, as expected, it'll likely be the largest settlement of its type in Denver history.

The previous high-water mark appears to have been set in 2008, when the city paid $3 million following the death of Emily Rae Rice, whose sad end was detailed in a 2006 Westword feature article, "Rae of Sunshine." Here's how Adam Cayton-Holland, the article's author, summarized the piece at the time of the settlement:

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Emily Rice.
Emily went out for some smokes while intoxicated early on the morning of February 19 of [2006]. She subsequently got into a car accident and was taken to Denver Health, where doctors cleared her to be booked into jail on suspicion of drunken driving. While behind bars, Emily cried out in pain and even fainted, but was ultimately ignored by nurses and guards, who told her to stop being dramatic. Other inmates pleaded for assistance for Emily, but none was ever given, and after spending a night in agony, she died. An autopsy revealed that Rice had a seven-inch cut to her liver, a lacerated spleen and three broken ribs.
As Cayton-Holland noted, attorneys for Rice's family felt that the money offered by the city was secondary to changes in protocol at Denver Health and the jail intended to "ensure that nothing like this ever happens in the City of Denver again."

Hunter's story was different from Rice's, but it demonstrates that plenty of problems remain at Denver jail. Here's a 7News report about the latest developments, followed by our previous coverage of the Hunter lawsuit.

Continue for previous coverage of the Jamal Hunter lawsuit, including videos, documents and images that some readers may find disturbing.


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59 comments
Darren Lyman
Darren Lyman

The first of many. The problem is; dpd is fucked as are state patrol, here comes the national guard.

Rodger Mathena
Rodger Mathena

It pisses me off! It should come out of the cops pocket not us the taxpayers!

Daniel Petty
Daniel Petty

How do I feel? It makes me want to beat the shit out of some stupid cops...

Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence

Strip away police unions and raise hiring standards like a college education and a degree in human psychology.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Make the Corrupt Violent Criminal Pigs pay personally, every penny they have, including their pensions, before the taxpayers have to cough up the rest.

Christy Young
Christy Young

And having a degree would automatically make them nonviolent?

SimpleIs
SimpleIs

ALL public servants, especially law enforcement, should be mandated to be bonded and insured, the policy paid for out of their OWN pockets. If no insurance company is willing to take on that gamble, than these “high risk” people will be unable to gain employment in these fields.

If the bureaucracy chooses to hire them without such insurance, then at such time that these government employees abrogate the parameters of their position and are sued by their victims, the already overburdened taxpayer should NEVER be liable for their unlawful conduct and actions.

Jessica Gonzalez
Jessica Gonzalez

The money should have went to hiring a whole new task force... this is ridiculous! The police keep getting away with shit and my money goes to making their mistakes "disappear" so the cycle can continue!??

Bail Bandits Denver Colorado
Bail Bandits Denver Colorado

Lol kick my ass book me in and give 3.25 mil im in fuck the tax dollars and were it goes or comes from !!!

Robbie Ratay
Robbie Ratay

House needs to be cleaned!! Fire them all and charge them!!

Sean Roder
Sean Roder

Well the whole Jail system is fucked up 90% of the guards in there need to be fired an get sent to prison

Bekki Marsh
Bekki Marsh

Sammy River, you are part of the problem! How on earth are you going to attempt to make another human being feel bad for being aware of what is wrong in this world? The people who should be ashamed are the ones like you and the one who think there is nothing wrong! SMH

Edward Casillas
Edward Casillas

Let's hired a few more cops like these & pay out 50 million

Elizabeth Bedford
Elizabeth Bedford

eh, wrong. What do you think the cap would on a liability insurance payout?

Elizabeth Bedford
Elizabeth Bedford

As a law abiding taxpayer, this shit is really fucking starting to piss me off. Start taking this shit out of the cops checks.

Cody Lott
Cody Lott

Makes me Want to get my ass kicked

Jason Toland
Jason Toland

Meh... it's an opportunity to make the system better

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

Your tax dollars at work...fund the gustapo...fund the prisons...fund the lawsuit settlements...

Molly Breen
Molly Breen

They should put a garnishment on the offending officers paychecks.

Latifah Abdul'laah
Latifah Abdul'laah

Lakewood requires their officers to have a four year degree, Denver should do the same. In Diggins' case, I know for a fact, he does have college behind him. He was about to graduate when he got hired as a sheriff. But that's not going to fix the violent culture that already exists.

Sammy River
Sammy River

No brainer, some don't think things through.

Sammy River
Sammy River

Leave it to a Liberal to point out all the other tragedies in the world.

John Pinnick
John Pinnick

How about we use the police retirement funds to pay these cops lawsuits. I bet they stop beating and killing citizens if they are hit where it hurts them. And for those blaming the victim for getting paid... Wait till it happens to you, it will sometime. This has become an epidemic, everyone will be affected by copyright abuse at sometime in there life.

Lukasz Perkowski
Lukasz Perkowski

another reason not to commit any crime in Denver area! in my opinion, prison sentence is not a punishment. very weak penal system in this country!

Randall Erkelens
Randall Erkelens

Not convinced every cop should take a pay cut due to actions of a few bad apples.

Louis Ruhlin
Louis Ruhlin

I think every time something like this happens, every cop in the county should take a % pay cut to pay for it until the debt is paid back. It would hit them personally, and perhaps change that culture and add some accountability. Right now, what do they care? We pay for their f-ups.

Clara Madrid
Clara Madrid

AND, so as I have been saying for many years, after observing abuses in the DPD and Denver Sheriffs, it's time to rewrite the hiring requirements to include the requirement of a college education. Thugs in charge of thugs was never a good idea.

Clara Madrid
Clara Madrid

In this case, violence is the department culture and if it goes unreported, that is just as bad.

Amber Rae Schultes
Amber Rae Schultes

I'd bet even more that even if he's found committing a crime, the cops will be so scared to jail him.... They'd let him go.

Steve At Work
Steve At Work

I'd wager he's going to try real hard to stay out of Denver's jail now.

Steve At Work
Steve At Work

I've known a few inmates, both prison and jail, and it is seldom the other inmates they are worried about...it's the staff. There exists a culture of protecting the badge regardless of right or wrong and that is what poses the greatest threat. The vast majority of CDOC staff are decent hardworking men and women but they've got some bad apples and that puts all at risk for retaliation. Denver will need to resolve the abuse issues quickly or that facility will jump off one day and it won't be pretty.

Betty Miller
Betty Miller

I think the city probably has insurance for such things, so may not be coming from tax money (except for the premiums).

Eric Matthews
Eric Matthews

Hope the cop was fired at least. I sure as fuck don't want to have my tax money spent on a parasite of the system.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

.. that's a lot of cops.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... or smart enough to get away with their violence.


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