Boulder County refuses to release jail death videotapes

Boulder County refuses to release jail death videotapes

Boulder County is refusing to release videotape that may shed light on the May 27 death of Stephanie Anderson in the county’s jail.

The mother of three from Denver, who was being jailed on a shoplifting charge and an outstanding warrant, was reportedly found unresponsive in her cell a day after she had complained of feeling ill. Jail officials tried to resuscitate her for about half an hour before she was pronounced dead.

Witnesses housed in the unit with Anderson say sheriff’s deputies ignored her cries for help. One deputy reportedly mocked her in Spanish.

The Colorado Independent on Tuesday filed a freedom of information request for video of Anderson on the day of her death, as well as of the time before, during and after her body was found. The county promptly denied the request.

“We are not able to release any information at this time because it is an open investigation,” wrote Theresa Cavalier, records manager for the sheriff’s department. Cavalier said she would comply with the request once the probe is complete.

There’s no telling how long that process might take.

In 2010, Denver stalled 10 months before releasing videotape of inmate Marvin Booker’s death at the Denver jail. More recently, it took Denver about two months to release footage of inmate Michael Marshall’s November 2015 death at the hands of sheriff’s deputies who were trying to restrain him.

The Independent sued Denver in January for the Marshall videotapes. The city released the footage a day later and the lawsuit has since been dropped.

Photo credit: Jake Setlak, Creative Commons, Flickr 

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About the Author

Susan Greene

A recovering newspaper journalist and Pulitzer finalist. Her criminal justice reporting includes “Trashing the Truth,” with Miles Moffeit, and “The Gray Box.”
susan@coloradoindependent.com | 720-295-8006 | @greeneindenver

1 Comment

  1. Will Morrison on said:

    So just how long do we suppose the county is going to drag it’s feet on this? And how many more times do we have to read about someone saying they felt ill in the CARE of the prison system only to be ridiculed, laughed at and then have them die?

    Maybe it’s time that someone told the SADISTS in the prisons and jails of this country and state that the people in there are under their care, and are there AS punishment, not FOR punishment. The guards and staff do NOT have the right or authority to be this disrespectful of LIFE. We’re supposed to be such a great society, it would be nice if we TRIED to act like it from time to time.

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