DENVER — As people in Denver protested George Floyd's death for a second day, Mayor Michael Hancock said he considers the deaths of Marvin Booker, Michael Marshall and Jessie Hernandez - all officer-involved killings - to be murder.
“Those individuals were, yes, murdered by police officers,” Hancock said during an interview on Next with Kyle Clark on Friday evening.
Watch the full interview with Hancock in the video above.
Their deaths are some of the most high-profile officer-involved fatalities in recent years:
- Booker died while he was being restrained by Denver sheriff’s deputies at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in downtown Denver in 2010. While an autopsy report suggests cocaine and an enlarged heart played a role in Booker’s death, family members believe he was actually killed by a chokehold and the subsequent use of a stun gun. Denver paid out a $6 million settlement.
- Hernandez, 17, was shot by police in the early morning hours of Jan. 26, 2015. Police reports say officers responded to a suspicious car report. When they pulled up, the windows were foggy. They called in the car’s license plate and it came up as stolen. Police reports say the two officers on the scene repeatedly tried to get Hernandez out of the car and stop. She didn't, instead of driving at one of them. Denver paid out a $1 million settlement.
- Marshall was restrained by Denver sheriff’s deputies while experiencing a psychotic episode in jail. Deputies placed him face down in the prone position. A spit hood was also placed over his face. Marshall choked on his own vomit, went in and out of consciousness and was eventually taken to the hospital, where he died on Nov. 20, 2015. Denver paid out a $4.65 million settlement.
Hancock took office in 2011, after Booker’s death.
“That led me along with many members of this community to begin to effectuate change and the institution of policy and the retraining of our officers,” he said. “And if you look back to 2015 you see our officers have gone through a policy change developed in collaboration with the community, in terms of excessive force and how we handle it and the expectations of accountability.”
Denver Police and the Denver Sheriff’s Office adopted new use-of-force policies in 2016 and both have had subsequent updates.
“The reality is that following each of those incidents there were tremendous lessons learned for me personally but also for my administration,” Hancock said in a press conference earlier in the day. “I have met with the Marshall family. I sat with them. I cried with them. I prayed with them, even as we were dealing with those situations. But they always had my word that I would do everything I could to make sure it was a swift resolution and that as a city we would do everything we can to bring comfort to them but also allow them to move on in their lives. So yeah, lessons have been learned.”
Hancock has shared his support for peaceful protests in response to the death of Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after an officer held Floyd down with a knee to his neck. The officer was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday.
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