Readers’ views: Mitch Morrissey and the police who killed Jessica Hernandez

Last Friday, Denver’s District Attorney Mitch Morrissey announced he would not prosecute the police who killed Jessica Hernandez. Readers responded passionately to our coverage.

Denver-resident, arts advocate and Titwrench Fest cofounder Sarah Slater wrote the follow post, originally on Facebook, in response to the article “District Attorney will not prosecute police who killed Jessica Hernandez,” which appeared in The Colorado Independent last Friday.

Another outrage: a non-indictment of the two officers who shot and killed Jessie Hernandez. When do we oust District Attorney Mitch Morrissey? We can vote him out. So upset with this endless murder. It cuts so deep to post these things.

I think we must read and repost Jessie’s family’s statement. It is critical that we keep her life, her spirit and her talents in the media’s focus. We need to remember the fact that being murdered by police is not uncommon for people of color in Colorado or any other part of the U.S. Yet another group of officers has NOT been prosecuted by Mitch Morrissey. In fact, he has not prosecuted even ONE offending officers for similar crimes in his 10 years in office here.

“This report is a reminder that the Denver District Attorney’s Office operates as a guardian of the Denver Police Department,” the statement from her family reads.

Please call and express your pain and outrage, and pressure the local media and the city of Denver to fire Mitch Morrissey and to fire him immediately.

There is no justification for police killing unarmed people, ever. We can reform our idea of policing and police, create more spaces for our young gems to thrive and connect, and together we can heal this wretched death pattern by creating something entirely new together.

Of course most of us are not surprised by another failure of justice by the Denver Police Department, because we don’t believe in the power of the state to protect and serve the people anymore (if we ever did at all).

But that should not stifle our disgust with this rotten system or our demands for justice and reform!

Aaron wrote in the comments section on the same story:

GIANT surprise. Da’s are among the LEAST honorable people in society, cops the most cowardly. How is it that cops are armed to the teeth, but THEY are the ones always afraid of EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING? And when THEY are afraid, one or more of US dies. What happened to the cops being the BRAVE ones who were willing and ready to actually risk something to do their job? I’m not seeing that. I’m seeing cops pull out their guns at the first POSSIBLE threat, even when there ISN’T one there, escallate the situation into something MUCH worse, and then kill someone. Two weeks of vacation, and it’s like nothing ever happened. Except that the OTHER pseron involved doesn’t get to go home.

And then we have the DA’s who decide that NO MATTER WHAT, the cops are just little angels trying to just survive in our incredibly violent society. It’s just too bad that REALITY doesn’t say that at all. We can’t possibly actually let people be treated as HUMAN BEINGS first, can we? Not in THIS country, anymore.

This DA is a disgrace. Justice means NOTHING to him, OBVIOUSLY. Just ass kissing to the cops, that’s what he’s about. What a shame.

And all this time, I thought that LIFE was supposed to matter, even to republicans. The keep TALKING like that, but when push comes to shove, there is NOTHING further from the truth.

Denver, remember this, and FIRE this DA next time you get a chance. He’s a comnplete disgrace

In response to The Indy’s initial coverage of the story, Kenneth wrote:

Stories like this one are very annoying, and I mean the case in general, I am not complaining about the reporter, and it is simply owing to the fact that the punks who go out looking for trouble are the ones who seem to receive a lot of community support, whereas the innocent people, probably because maybe they keep a little more to themselves, do not receive nearly as much support. But as the story says, Jessica was in a car loaded with other teens, and she decided to drive around in a stolen vehicle, to drink while underage, and to try to evade arrest when she was caught. She never should have kicked the engine over. She compiled one mistake on top of the other and it she paid with her life. She should have simply worked hard, saved her money and bought herself a car, and none of this would have happened to her.

And KW wrote:

This is not journalism, it isn’t even honest. This is purely about pushing an agenda. You are using the victim to fit your needs. Disgraceful article by a disgraceful writer…

Photo credit: Tony Webster, Creative Commons, Flickr