Denver officer under investigation for chokehold excessive force incident

Denver officer under investigation for chokehold excessive force incident

Protestors are marching in cities across the country following a grand jury decision not to indict an officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner in Staten Island.

Today, the controversial maneuver is the subject of the latest investigation by Denver’s Sheriffs Department, which has battled a string of excessive force cases and which Mayor Michael Hancock vowed to reform.

On Thursday morning at Denver’s jail, Sergeant Loren Collier grabbed a prisoner by the neck, put him in a chokehold and took him to the ground, sources have told The Colorado Independent. The incident happened in the presence of other deputies, several of whom piled on top, a videotape shows.

The prisoner — whom the city refuses to name — was reportedly seated in a chair and had disobeyed orders to move. He was taken to Denver Health after having either passed out or having claimed to have passed out. Sources say he is not seriously injured.

“A sergeant is on investigatory leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” Sheriffs Department Simon Crittle told The Independent. “As the incident is under Internal Affairs investigation, the department cannot discuss the details of what occurred.”

The city recently paid $6 million for the death of street preacher Marvin Booker at the hands of deputies at the jail in 2010. Like in this case, Booker had disobeyed orders when staffers restrained him, piled on top of him, used a chokehold and Taser to restrain him. Though Booker’s death was ruled a homicide by Denver’s coroner, the deputies involved weren’t reprimanded by the Safety Department nor prosecuted by Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey.

Hancock’s administration defended Booker’s killing for four years.

In the aftermath of the historic jury award in the Booker family’s federal civil suit against the city — and after a string of other highly publicized, videotaped incidents of deputies injuring prisoners in the jail — Hancock has pledged comprehensive reforms in officers’ use of force.

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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.” | 720-295-8006 | @greeneindenver


  1. Colin J. Guthrie on said:

    Well, what do you expect? The Black Mayor of Black Denver, and the Black Police Chief of Black Denver, have no interest at all in actually “reforming” the Denver goon squads. What’s good enough for Ferguson, MO, is certainly good enough for Denver, CO. And that’s that.

    And of course, they do it in New York City, and get away with it; so . . . ? Why get upset about it, out here in Injun Fightin’ Country? We showed ’em what’s what down at Sand Creek. Didn’t we?

  2. Jim in Littleton on said:

    Grand Jury investigations and any subsequent litigation regarding police officers and their departments must be taken out of the purview of District Attorneys. It’s obvious the current system isn’t working and the majority of the populace are demanding change.

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