DENVER - The Denver City Council expressed serious concerns Tuesday about the investigation into the Sheriff's Department in the wake of the $3.3 million settlement with a former inmate abused while in jail.
Council members grilled Stephanie O'Malley, Denver's manager of safety, about the process the city is undertaking as the investigation into the Sheriff's Department gets underway. They also questioned why no city council members are on the executive committee heading up that investigation.
"We are off to a bad start," said Charlie Brown, a City Council member from district six.
"I've been to 95 percent of these meetings," Brown said. "Why he [Mayor Michael Hancock] was not here today I don't understand."
Deputy Mayor Cary Kennedy announced at the start of the weekly mayor council meeting that Mayor Hancock couldn't make it to the meeting. 9NEWS reached out to the Mayor's spokesperson Amber Miller. She said the mayor was "with family" this morning.
"I can't believe we are having this discussion without the mayor in the room," said Jeanne Robb, council district 10.
"What are you thinking?" Robb asked O'Malley.
The members are upset the Mayor's Office and O'Malley have not asked a city council member to join the executive committee heading up the investigation into the Sheriff's Department.
"We are not being taken very seriously in this" said Judy Montero, city council president pro-tem, council district 9.
Montero expressed concerns that there are no Spanish-speaking members of the committee. She said the first she heard about the update was a press release sent out by the Mayor's office during Monday night's city council meeting.
The investigation was prompted after former inmate Jamal Hunter filed a lawsuit claiming a deputy ignored his screams while inmates attacked him and scalded his genitals in July 2011. Cameras captured another deputy choking Hunter 12 days later.
The settlement asked for a third party must investigate the sheriff's department, including its hiring practices and the way it disciplines deputies. An investigator will also review the city attorney's office, which was accused of misconduct related to Hunter's lawsuit.
O'Malley talked about several task forces already assigned investigate the department before the company hired to do the work starts its independent inquiry. Mayor Hancock announced earlier this month Jim Davis, former special agent in charge of the Denver FBI office will help oversee the independent investigation.
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