White Denver Cop Fired for "Cruel & Unusual Punishment" - caught Choking Black Man on video [$3.25 million settlement]
From [HERE] and [HERE] Denver's Department of Safety announced Tuesday the termination of Deputy Thomas Ford and Deputy Edward Keller. Both are white. Deputy Keller was terminated for his assault on Mr. Jamal Hunter, a Black man and his willful disregard of the guiding principles to provide for the care, safety, and security of inmates," officials said in a statement.
The case led the city to pay $3.25 million to former jail inmate Jamal Hunter in what became the largest lawsuit settlement in Denver's history. Hunter sued alleging widespread brutality and corruption in the Denver jail and witness intimidation by police.
Documents filed in the case portray Denver's jail system as out of control, a place where deputies allowed inmates to administer beatings to other inmates, let inmates brew alcohol from fruit smuggled into cells and told gang members about their rivals in the jail.
The deputies didn't provide protection, former inmate Darnel Anderson testified in a sworn affidavit.
"Rather, they encouraged inmates to go after one another. ... They opened the closets for fights," he said. "They knew about the altercations because they could hear everything. They would let fights go on." [MORE]
Inmates attacked Hunter in a cell in Pod 3A of the Downtown Detention Center known as the "Terror Dome." Minutes after his return to his pod from a court hearing, deputy Gaynel Rumer turned the lights off with most inmates already locked in their cells. Deputy Rumer allegedly knew inmates were going to attack Hunter after the deputy told them Hunter was a snitch. Other inmates have said Rumer was angry at Hunter for belittling the deputy for drinking on the job.
Hunter had returned to his cell and had just washed his face when another inmate wrapped his arm around Hunter's neck from behind. While the first man held him, another inmate pummeled him in the face with his fist. Hunter's nose broke, and he began to bleed profusely. The inmates told him to take a shower to clean up the blood. Hunter showered, and when he returned to his cell, the beat-down resumed. Now there were four attacking him.
Deputy Rumer gave one of the attackers a plastic garbage bag, Hunter said. While Hunter was unconscious, inmates put the bag over his head and were suffocating him when one inmate warned that if Hunter died, they'd all face first-degree murder charges.
"It was supposed to be a murder," Hunter said.
Instead, his attackers poured two scalding cups of 200-degree water on his genitals. Other inmates testified that they heard Hunter screaming, but jail video shows no reaction from Rumer, who is seen walking his rounds.
Hunter was taken to the Denver Health Medical Center for treatment. Eight days later, he asked another deputy to contact a nurse to examine his genitals to prevent infection. Jail video cameras recorded a noncombative Hunter being choked by sheriff's Deputy Edward Keller. [MORE]
The lawsuit alleged that Deputy Gaynel Rumer was friendly with the attackers, encouraged and enabled the attack, and ignored Hunter's screams for help. Other deputies did nothing to help and ignored his screams for help.
In the video, Hunter is immediately thrown down on his bunk by Deputy Keller. Keller can be seen placing his hands around Hunter's neck as he violently chokes him. At least 5 other deputies then swarm his cell and begin to restrain, beat and Taser him.
Keller told investigators that Hunter was an annoying inmate who complained and whined to officers and often played the race card toward white officers, according to the disciplinary letter.