Marvin Booker just wanted to get his shoes.
But deputies at the new Denver jail told him to stop. When Booker, who was being processed on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, didn't obey, he was held down, hit with electric shocks and then placed facedown in a holding cell, according to two inmates who watched it unfold.
Booker never got up. He was pronounced dead later that morning.
"I've never seen anything happen like that before in my life," said John Yedo, 54, who was being processed on a charge of destruction of property and said he witnessed the scene. "What I saw is not what you'd expect to see in America."
The two jail witnesses, who were both arrested in the early-morning hours of July 9 around the time Booker was being processed, were contacted and interviewed by The Denver Post separately. Both of them said they had not been questioned by police investigating the death of Booker, a homeless ordained minister who served the poor, but also a habitual criminal with a long string of arrests.
Capt. Frank Gale, spokesman for the jail, said he cannot comment on the ongoing investigation by the Denver Police Department and the Denver district attorney's office, and cannot confirm the inmates' accounts.
He said what happened at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Facility would have been recorded on videotape.
"If in fact what they are saying is true, it should be reflected in the video," Gale said.
District attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said she couldn't comment during the investigation, which could take several more weeks. The coroner's office is awaiting test results before completing the autopsy report and determining how Booker died, she said. In the meantime, the deputies involved in Booker's case are still on the job.
Yedo has had one prior arrest, in 1974 on a drug charge. Christopher Maten, 25, the other witness, was arrested in 2005 for public consumption of alcohol. Neither is a career criminal. The versions the two suspects tell are nearly identical.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Cops shocked pastor to death.
From the Denver Post: