Three years ago today, Marvin Booker, a street preacher, was arrested and taken to Denver's Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center after failing to appear on a possession-of-drug-paraphernalia charge. He died while in custody that day, after an altercation with sheriff's deputies. Although the Denver coroner ruled his death a homicide, then-Denver manager of safety Charles Garcia cleared the deputies, calling it "a tragic event for everyone." Particularly Booker's family, whose lawsuit against the city was supposed to start in January, but after an appeal by the city now has no date on the docket.
But Booker's supporters do have a date at the Denver Justice Center tonight. Here's the announcement of the third anniversary memorial for Booker:
THIRD ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL FOR MARVIN L. BOOKER KILLED BY DEPUTIES IN DENVER JAIL IN 2010
TIME: 6:00 p.m. LOCATION: Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center Plaza, 490 W. Colfax Avenue
On Tuesday, July 9, 2013, at 6:00 p.m., members of the Denver community will join together for a solemn memorial for Marvin L. Booker, a 56-year-old street preacher who was killed three years ago today, July 9, 2010, by 5 Denver Deputy Sheriffs at the Denver City Jail.
Members of Mr. Booker's family will be present with community leaders and residents to pay continuing respects for Mr. Booker, and to remind the community and the City leaders that the fight for justice for Marvin Booker continues. The City's legal strategy of maximum delay has prevented the matter from yet proceeding to a jury trial in federal court. The matter was set for a trial in January 2013 when a federal judge strongly refused Denver's request to throw the case from court, but Denver has stubbornly delayed justice by trying to appeal that ruling in favor of the Booker family.
The delay has been devastating to the family. Marvin's father, the Rev. B.R. Booker Sr., passed away in February 2013, shortly after Denver's maneuver to derail the trial. But still the family struggles on, with the support of religious and civic leaders in the community, and the community as a whole.
As an effort to give back to the community, those attending the memorial are encouraged to bring a pair of shoes to donate. All shoes will be given to needy individuals in the Denver community. The symbolic significance of the shoe donation program references the events of Mr. Booker's senseless killing by the jail deputies, as he was attacked by a deputy sheriff when he was rnerely retrieving his shoes frorn the seating area during the booking process after having been arrested on an unpaid warrant. Rather than allow Mr. Booker to retrieve his shoes, five deputies tackled him, handcuffed him, inflicted upon him a deadly choke-hold, crushed him under the weight of several people, bound his legs, and inflicted a taser on him for extended periods of time. He was dead within a couple of minutes.
The family is fighting for justice in the courts, and Denver's lawyers fight for delay and to avoid accountability. The family seeks support and comfort from the community during their journey for justice. Please join them at a respectful gathering memorializing the third anniversary of Marvin's killing.
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From our archives: See "Marvin Booker protest march on anniversary of controversial jail death."