Sterling prison murders blamed on staff indifference, misconduct

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James Bergman beat a child killer to death the first day they were put in a cell together. Additional photos below.
Court records and testimony prompted by a wave of inmate homicides at the Sterling Correctional Facility claim that SCF officers have repeatedly placed at-risk prisoners, particularly sex offenders, in life-threatening situations -- and that some staff have even celled deadly enemies together to "teach a lesson," fully expecting one inmate to attack another.

The result has been mayhem on a grand scale: Five inmate murders at Sterling in a two-
year period that ended in 2012. An internal investigation, with findings never made public, was ordered by prison chief Tom Clements before his own murder last year. A lawsuit was recently filed by one victim's family, with possibly more to come.

See also: Gabrial Adams, serving life, found dead in prison for mentally ill


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Video: See Thomas Ford, suspended deputy, knock out non-violent inmate

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A screen capture of Deputy Thomas Ford seconds before laying out an inmate; he's seen at the upper right. The video and more below.
Amid numerous recent claims of inappropriate actions by Colorado law enforcers, several of which were brought to the public's attention via lawsuit, the Denver Manager of Safety's Office issued an unusual announcement: Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson had asked the Denver District Attorney's Office to launch a criminal investigation into the conduct of a deputy under his command, Thomas Ford.

The release didn't say precisely what Ford was accused of having done. But a video originally shared by the Colorado Independent and on view below shows Ford brutally punching out an apparently non-violent inmate. And Ford was reportedly involved in another high-profile case of alleged inmate abuse.

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

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Child Protection Ombudsman office criticized in state audit

Categories: News

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An image from the state Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman's website.
Lack of documentation, untimely reviews and an organizational structure that sometimes results in the watchdog office investigating the very department that oversees its contract were some of the issues identified in the first-ever audit of the three-year-old Office of Colorado's Child Protection Ombudsman. The office began operating in 2011 with the purpose of serving as a neutral organization to hear grievances about Colorado's child welfare system -- and ultimately, to help better protect children.

See also: Child welfare: Hickenlooper's new plan calls for "common practice approach" in all 64 counties

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Inside Initiative 121, an industry-friendly measure to punish fracking-free zones

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A screen capture from the anti-fracking documentary "Dear Governor Hickenlooper."
If a Colorado county or district does not allow gas or oil production within its jurisdiction, should it be given tax revenue produced in other areas of the state that allow these companies? No, says initiative 121, an industry-driven proposal that's one of several measures focusing on fracking that could wind up on the November 4 ballot, as outlined in our current cover story, "Frack Attack."

See also: Frackers and their critics argue over proposed study of industry's health risks

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Rocky Mountain National Park lightning kills Gregory Cardwell, Becky Telheit in two days

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Gregory Cardwell, second from right, in a Facebook photo. More images below.
In recent days, we've posted about the series of lightning storms that have hit the Colorado, with one strike hitting so close to Arvada's Chad Greenlees that he was briefly knocked out while recording a video of the light show.

This incident pales in comparison with a pair of tragedies at Rocky Mountain National Park: Out-of-state visitors Becky Teilhet and Gregory Cardwell were killed by lightning strikes on consecutive days in spots located close to each other.

See also: Video: Chad Greenlees knocked out by lightning while recording lightning

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JonBenet case: Fleet White sues for release of grand jury documents accusing girl's parents

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JonBenet Ramsey. Additional photos below.
A prominent Boulder couple, former close friends of John and Patsy Ramsey, have filed a lawsuit seeking the full release of long-suppressed documents drafted by a grand jury investigating the 1996 murder of the Ramseys' six-year-old daughter, JonBenet. Last fall a judge released four redacted pages from eighteen pages of "official action" documents prepared by the grand jury, indicating that the panel had sought to indict JonBenet's parents for felony child abuse resulting in death and on an accessory charge -- but Fleet and Priscilla White contend that the remaining documents may also contain information the public is entitled to know.

See also: JonBenet's parents: How an indictment became an "exoneration"

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Man says "F*ck it" at Sam's Club, gets a ticket for disorderly conduct

Categories: News

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Should saying the F-word at Sam's Club be a crime?

Russell Blackburn doesn't think so. Back in January, the 59-year-old Blackburn was checking out at an Aurora Sam's Club. He paid for his dog food, cheese, milk and other items and then stood at the end of a long line of people waiting for yet another Sam's employee to check his receipt against the groceries in his cart. A diabetic, Blackburn realized that his blood sugar level was dropping; he was shaking and his vision was wonky. He says he knew that if he didn't get to the candy stashed in his car, he'd probably collapse. "Fuck it," he said, and he steered his cart toward the front of the line.

See also: John Hickenlooper's "What the f*ck?" to sheriffs group caught on video

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Stephanie Southard: Ex-cop's hearing over on-duty sex claims closed to avoid "media circus"

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Stephanie Southard.
In recent months, several Denver police officers have faced allegations related to sexual misconduct on the job. Next week, one of the most prominent -- Stephanie Southard, accused of having sex 25-30 times while on-duty -- is scheduled to have her case heard. But while such matters are routinely open to the press and the public, this one will be closed in an effort to prevent what a rep with Denver's Civil Service Commission describes as a "media circus."

See also: Stephanie Southard latest Denver cop in trouble for alleged on-duty sex and more

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Update: Boulder can continue issuing same-sex marriage licenses, judge rules

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Wendy and Michelle Alfredsen check out their marriage certificate in a 7News image. Additional photos and more below.
Update below: The day after an Adams County judge ruled that Colorado's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, a court in Boulder County has denied Colorado Attorney General John Suthers's bid to stop such licenses from being issued in that area.

Why? We've got details and the complete ruling below.

See also: Boulder's same-sex marriage licenses invalid? Inside court ruling, John Suthers's objections

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Jeffrey Strouse is lucky cop just barely shot him, DA says

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Jeffrey Strouse. More photos and an original document below.
As we've reported, Gordon Moench told investigators he wanted to be killed by police in an incident that ended with the wounding of two Lakewood cops.

Presumably, Jeffrey Strouse felt differently in a separate officer-involved shooting. But not only has Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey determined that the Aurora officer in that case did nothing wrong, but he notes in a decision letter included here that Strouse is lucky not to have been severely injured or snuffed entirely. The strange details below.

See also: Update: Gordon Moench allegedly lured cops to ambush with threat to "kill a bunch of people"

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