The family of a victim in a wrongful death case that resulted in a $6 million award in 2014 wants the Denver District Attorney’s Office to review the matter claiming that there was an internal “cover up”. Marvin Booker was being processed into a Denver jail in 2010 and he left the booking area to retrieve a pair of shoes he had left in the waiting room. The incident, which was caught on surveillance footage, showed four officers restraining him, possibly choking him, and using a Taser on Booker, leading to his death. The family insisted that an officer had used the Taser for an extended period on Booker, far in excess of the department’s account that it was used for only eight seconds. The family believes the Taser that was actually used was switched out during the investigation to avoid severe disciplinary action.
Booker was 56 at the time he was brought to the detention facility on an active warrant. Sergeant Rodriguez was the lone supervisor on duty and was believed to have used the Taser on Booker. The autopsy report suggested that the cause of death was the combination of being choked and shocked by the Taser device. During the investigation, the Taser that was tested did not reflect that it had been used in excess. Actually, the Taser’s time of usage did not correspond to the time of the incident, as clearly documented on the video.
The plaintiffs stated that Rodriguez had a motive to present a different device to investigators to avoid potential prosecution for excessive usage of the Taser. In addition, they felt that the administration was motivated to resolve the matter quickly to lessen public outcry about the event. The court did not determine that there was a time of usage discrepancy on the report (eight seconds), despite the video evidence showing it was used for over 20 seconds.
The data that was downloaded from the Taser was inconsistent with the other facts. There was a significant discrepancy between the time of day the report showed that the usage occurred and the time shown on the video. The defense explained this was due to “clock drift”. A manufacturer representative explained that it is possible to synchronize the device using a computer that was set to the wrong time, or that times could become inaccurate if the battery badly needed recharging. The Bookers have publically asked Beth McCann, the District Attorney, to reexamine the issue. Thus far, the administration has only responded with a statement saying they do not typically reopen cases that have been closed.
Have you or a loved one been injured as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another party? The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has been pursuing financial compensation for Colorado injury victims for many years. Contact the office today at (303) 825-2223 for a free initial consultation today.