Denver proposes $3.3M jail abuse settlement

July 22, 2014

Denver officials have reached a deal to pay $3.3 million to settle a federal jail-abuse lawsuit.

The proposed settlement, announced Tuesday, would be the largest such settlement in the city's history. It still must be approved by the City Council and the federal judge overseeing the lawsuit.

Denver City Attorney Scott Martinez says the city is not admitting any wrongdoing.  

“This is a fiscally responsible action taken on behalf of taxpayers and we understand the litigation expenses, potential damages, and plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees could have exceeded the settlement amount if we had gone to litigation and if the litigation would have run its course," Martinez says.

Among other allegations, former jail inmate Jamal Hunter alleged that a sheriff's deputy not only allowed but encouraged a group of inmates to brutally attack him and scald his genitals with burning water in July 2011.

About two weeks later, jail surveillance video recorded Hunter being choked by another deputy.

The allegations led U.S. District Judge John Kane to request a Department of Justice investigation into the practices of the Denver police and sheriff's departments.

Word of a settlement came a day after Denver's sheriff resigned.

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