Family of man who died in police custody call for criminal investigation to be reopened

Seven years and one day after he died while being restrained by Denver sheriff deputies, the family of Marvin Booker is calling for a criminal investigation to be reopened.

KUSA - Dozens of people gathered outside the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in Downtown Denver Monday to chant “where is the taser?” among other things.

The chant was to show support for the family of Marvin Booker, an inmate who died while being restrained by five sheriff deputies in 2010. 

On Monday, the family met with District Attorney Beth McCann to discuss reopening a criminal investigation.

“You find yourself wondering every day why did they have to do this to him?” asked Booker’s sister-in-law Gail Booker.

The autopsy reports suggests cocaine and an enlarged heart played a role in Booker’s death, but family members believe it was the chokehold and subsequent use of a taser that killed Booker.

“If you go back and watch the videos; when [the deputy that tased Booker] left the I-8 cell she went and put the taser up before she got the nurse and then went back to get a different taser,” she said.

In 2014, a civil suit led the City of Denver to settle and pay $6 million to the Booker family. In that case Sgt. Carrie Rodriguez testified that she mistakenly gave police the wrong taser for analysis after the death.

The Booker family believes it was no mistake, asserting Sgt. Rodriguez switched the taser because she used it longer than recommended by the manufacturer.

“She intended to do harm to Marvin,” said Booker’s brother Spencer Booker.

In an email to 9NEWS on Monday evening, the Department of Public Safety said it could not comment on the meeting, but the DA Beth McCann’s office confirmed they're reviewing the family's request, adding “no promises were made about further investigation or criminal charges.”

Booker's death was one of a series of excessive force cases and big payouts involving the city of Denver.

It eventually called on an outside firm to produce a report that made recommendations for changes at the jails.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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