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Denver Jail Brutality: Auditor Wonders if Sheriff's Office Has Something to Hide

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Jamal Hunter, seen in this post-beating photo, received a $3.25 million settlement from the City of Denver. Additional images, plus a video and more below.
This could get ugly. Hot on the heels of huge City of Denver payouts in cases involving Jamal Hunter and Marvin Booker, Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher blasted the Denver Sheriff's Department for a lack of transparency regarding his office's efforts to audit jail operations overseen by the DSD. A key quote from a letter sent to Mayor Michael Hancock that's on view below: "This kind of behavior and the refusal to provide needed information to my auditors makes me wonder what some people want to hide."

See also: $3.25 Million Settlement in Jamal Hunter Suit Latest Blemish on Denver Sheriff's Department

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Ken McGill Awarded $11 Million in Lawsuit Over Stroke Suffered in Jeffco Jail

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Photo by Anthony Camera
Ken McGill in a photo from our April 2013 cover story.
In our April 2013 cover story, Joel Warner wrote about Ken McGill, who had filed a lawsuit against Jefferson County for what he saw as shabby care after he suffered a stroke while incarcerated. A jury has now agreed and awarded McGill $11 million. Continue for the details, plus a video and original documents.

See also: Ken McGill Left Jail Behind, But He Can't Escape the Stroke He Suffered There

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Stephen Graves, Man Living in Yard House Ceiling: Multiple Wine Corks

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Stephen Graves. Photos, a video and more below.
Last week, Mark Antonation at our Cafe Society blog told you about a man who'd been living in the ceiling of the downtown Yard House becoming trapped in a wall amid flooding that forced the restaurant to temporarily close. Now, that man, Stephen Graves, has been formally charged with several crimes. Continue for photos, video and details from the police report, which offers several clues about what Graves was doing in there: multiple wine corks.

See also: Man Living in the Ceiling of the Yard House Downtown Becomes Trapped in Wall

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Hunger and Homelessness: How Denver Compares to 24 American Cities

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Photo by Britt Chester. Click to see the complete Sleeping on the 16th Street Mall slide show. Additional images and more below.
Yesterday, our Kristin Pazulski provided an overview of a new report on hunger and homelessness released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which examined the topic based on numbers from 25 cities, including Denver. As Pazulski, noted, Denver was in the middle of the pack in many areas, leaving plenty of room for improvement -- and that point is underscored by a deeper dive into the data.

Continue to see how Denver ranked in a slew of categories, including increases in total homelessness, pounds of food distributed, budget size and more, with the figures illustrated by photos from our Sleeping on the 16th Street Mall slide show. Also included is the complete hunger and homelessness survey.

See also: Homelessness in Denver: Room for Improvement, Report Says

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Denver Police Beating Caught on Camera: Citizen Board Criticizes Cops' Defense

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A screen capture from footage obtained by Fox31. More images and a video below.
Late last month, we shared allegations against a Denver police officer caught on video punching a suspect six times in the face and tripping a pregnant woman. In addition, officers were accused of deleting the video, which was later said to have been recovered from a cloud-based storage system.

After Fox31 broke the story, the Denver Police Department issued a long statement declaring that the officer's actions were justified and questioning both the videographer's credibility and the station's ethics. But now, this defense is under scrutiny by the city's Citizen Oversight Board, which has issued a letter highly critical of the DPD for these public-relations efforts while an investigation into the punch-out remains ongoing. Continue for photos, video, the complete letter and more.

See also: Denver Police: Cop Justified in Punching Man, Tripping Pregnant Woman

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Marijuana: Granby Board Okays "Emergency" Annexation to Block Pot Shop

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YouTube
Granby. Additional photos and more below.
Editor's note: William Breathes's medical marijuana dispensary review, normally published at this time, needs a little more time to cure. In its stead, we bring you an update about a town going to extremes to prevent a cannabis store from opening nearby.

Earlier this week, we noted that Granby's Board of Trustees planned a vote on annexing unincorporated land to block a pot shop from locating there. That vote has now taken place, with members approving the "emergency" annexation. But according to the attorney representing the shop, the officials skirted questions about whether their actions were legal, choosing to demonize marijuana instead.

See also: Update: Marijuana-Hating Town Officials to Vote on Plan to Block Pot Shop

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James Holmes Trial Will Start on January 20 and That's That, Judge Rules

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes and defense attorney Daniel King in court in June 2013.
In October, Judge Carlos Amour, who's overseeing the Aurora theater shooting case, agreed to push back the start of jury selection to January 20, 2015 -- the fifth postponement overall. But he refused to move the time for opening statements beyond its previous early June schedule.

That didn't stop Holmes's defense team from requesting yet another delay. To that, Samour has offered a simple answer: no.

See also: James Holmes Case: Jury Selection Delayed for Fifth Time, Expected to Take Months, published on October 28

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Rocky Reboot Plan Could Lead to Death of Daily Journalism in Denver, Source Says

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Free Lunch Photography
Phil Anschutz.
Yesterday, we shared speculation about a possible Rocky Mountain News reboot by gazillionaire Phil Anschutz, with speculation suggesting that an online prototype was a ploy in negotiations to purchase the Denver Post, which has been up for sale since September.

After our post went live, we were contacted by a knowledgeable source with ties to both the Rocky and Clarity Media Group, the Anschutz Entertainment Group branch that's handling the project. The source believes the company wants to bring back the Rocky as a version of Anschutz's Examiner newspapers, two of which have failed. But if the firm ends up with the Post, he predicts dire consequences for journalism in Denver.

See also: Rocky Mountain News Reboot Plan: Warning Shot to the Post or Real Deal?

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Photos: Middle Schoolers Join Ferguson Protests in Denver

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Photo by Jay Vollmar
More photos below.
The participants in school walkouts over the no-indictment decisions by grand juries in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths are getting younger. Yesterday, they included students from GALS Denver, which offers classes for grades six through nine. Westword art director Jay Vollmar caught up to the group at Civic Center Park. Check out his photos below.

See also: Photos: Officer John Adsit Critically Injured in Crash During East High's Ferguson Walk-Out

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Justin Hale: Boyfriend Acquitted of Murder in One-Year-Old's Death

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Update below: Some deaths are so brutal, so shocking to the public conscience, that they seem to cry out for retribution. That seemed to be the case in the fatal trauma suffered by thirteen-month-old Brookelynn Palmer, whose head injuries were so severe that prosecutors maintained she must have been swung with tremendous force by her mother's boyfriend, Justin Hale.

As we reported last year, Hale was facing a possible life in prison on charges of first-degree murder and reckless child abuse resulting in death. But last month, after an eight-day trial, it took a Jefferson County jury barely more than an hour to find him not guilty on all counts. The case against him had a particularly revealing and disturbing flaw -- a pre-existing injury that may have contributed to Brookelynn's death and was missed by several medical professionals involved in her treatment.

See also: Justin Hale Charged With Murdering Girlfriend's 13-Month-Old Baby

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