At a gathering on the steps of Denver’s city jail on Tuesday afternoon, a crowd rallied in the wake of news that a jury found sheriff deputies were responsible for the death of homeless preacher Marvin Booker in July 2010. The jury awarded the Booker family $4.65 million in compensation and damages.
Speakers at the event led a call to action, asking Denver residents and officials to work together to change the culture of abuse that has marked security force interactions with residents for decades.
“Four years ago, the blood of Marvin Louis Booker was crying our for justice,” said Rev. Timothy Tyler, pastor at Shorter Community AME Church in Denver. “Today in a court of law a jury stood up, a body of authority stood up for the first time in four years and declared sheriffs deputies were guilty of excessive force leading to the death of Marvin Booker.
“Four years ago, we promised we would not rest until we got justice. Today we return to this death trap one more time, and this time we will not have to promise Marvin that we’re going to get him justice… we gather here to declare we have discovered justice.
And it’s not the end of justice; it’s the beginning.”
The city fought the family with determination at every stage of the case, despite overwhelming evidence that the five deputies at the heart of the tragic events had overreacted in their interaction with Booker, tackling, choke-holding, Tasing and then ignoring him as he lay limp, his heart slowly running down and the stopping in the jail house full of onlookers.[ Video by Nate Koch. ]