[WATCH] If Trainer at Denver Jail Isn’t Removed More Inmates Will Likely Die

Attorney Darold Killmer, corresponding via email, responds like so: “This astonishing testimony, from a trainer at the jail, shows clearly why inmates keep getting killed and maimed at the Denver jail. Mr. Yamaguchi should be first in line to receive the new training required by the Marshall settlement. In the meantime, he should be removed from his job as trainer, or more inmates will likely die.”

Background on the Marshall case can be found in a Denver District Attorney’s Office decision letter explaining why criminal charges weren’t pressed against deputies involved in the incident. According to the document, Marshall was arrested for trespassing on November 7, 2015, after which he was placed in the Denver Detention Center’s 4D pod, described as a “special management unit on the fourth floor.”

Prior to his jailing, Marshall had reportedly refused to take medicine prescribed to fight the effects of schizophrenia, and he’d had six police contacts over a 48-hour period. During 911 calls, he’s said to have been “rambling” and engaged in “ranting.”

On November 11, Marshall was allowed free time out of his cell, but when he “was observed behaving in a strange and erratic manner” and approaching another inmate aggressively, deputies intervened and took him to an area dubbed a “sally port,” with a bench on one side of a long hallway.

It’s at this point that a video of Marshall’s final moments begins. See it here:

The clip shows Marshall slumping to the floor of a Denver jail corridor after being pushed by a deputy in an action that was forceful but not overtly aggressive. The deputies responded by holding Marshall down (even though he didn’t appear to be struggling) before transitioning into an unsuccessful attempt to revive him. An autopsy determined that, in all likelihood, he choked to death on his own vomit.

As noted above, no deputies faced criminal charges regarding Marshall’s death, but seven were investigated for potential discipline for their actions. In the end, though, only two were designated for punishment. In April, Garegnani received a sixteen-day suspension for failing to follow use-of-force policies and procedures, and Deputy Carlos Hernandez got a ten-day suspension for the same offense.

The length of these suspensions was shorter than previous ones handed out to Denver law enforcers in cases that didn’t lead to death, including actions involving a sexually explicit text and flashing a badge to get faster restaurant service. After the discipline was announced, Killmer expressed shock in a Westword interview that it was “so light.”

Shortly thereafter, Hernandez and Garegnani appealed the suspensions, and in the subsequent report, accessible below, hearing officer Bruce Plotkin appears to have relied heavily on Deputy Yamaguchi’s view of the events when determining that Hernandez and Garegnani didn’t violate departmental rules. An excerpt reads: “Neither had any prior discipline; both attempted to talk to Marshall to persuade him to comply with lawful orders and, when discovering those efforts were unavailing, used only that force required to prevent harm to responders; when Marshall’s heart stopped, both Appellants, and Garegnani in particular, engaged in extraordinary measures to save Marshall’s life, even when told by outside medical responders to cease resuscitative measures.”

Mari Newman, Killmer’s co-counsel in the case, couldn’t disagree more with this conclusion. “The disciplinary actions were ridiculously lenient to begin with,” she maintains. “The fact that they have now been overturned is nothing short of outrageous. It is absolutely petrifying that a Denver trainer believes that this was an example of good law enforcement. This was brutal excessive force by multiple officers against a small man obviously in the throes of a mental-health crisis.”

For the full story visit: http://www.westword.com/news/michael-marshall-jail-death-denver-deputies-suspensions-overturned-9671651