District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has opted not to prosecute the Denver police officers who killed unarmed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez January 26 in Park Hill. Morrissey has not prosecuted a single killer cop in his decade in office, as The Colorado Independent reported last month. The decision is no surprise to Hernandez’s family nor supporters.
Hernandez, a poet and beloved member of her community, was sitting in a car with her friends when the police surrounded her. The police alleged that she drove the car dangerously close to the officers and they shot in self-defense.
“The facts show this was a defensive shooting by both officers,” wrote Morrissey to Chief Robert White. “That is, their decisions to shoot Ms. Hernandez were justifiable in light of the manner in which she drove the car in close and dangerous proximity to them, threatening the life of Officer Jordan who had little room to avoid the car. The facts show that the force used by both officers was legally justified, and not unlawful, under Colorado law.
“This report is a reminder that the Denver District Attorney’s Office operates as a guardian of the Denver Police Department,” said a statement from the Hernandez family.
The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for an independent review of the case, arguing that Morrissey has a conflict of interest in prosecuting the very police officers his office represents.
“The Hernandez family knew that justice for Jessie’s death would not come from Denver’s insiders,” read a statement from the Hernandez family. “The family continues to seek lawful means for justice, and for change within Denver and throughout the nation. The Hernandez family asks the community to engage in peaceful response, and continues to condemn any violence in Jessie’s name.”
The Colroado Progressive Coalition is organizing a protest Monday, June 8 at the Denver Police Administration Building Plaza, 1331 Cherokee street.
Below is a statement from the Hernandez family.
This report is a reminder that the Denver District Attorney’s Office operates as a guardian of the Denver Police Department.