Supporters and family members rallied in front of the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center yesterday afternoon in remembrance of 56-year old Marvin Booker, who was killed by Denver sheriff deputies in July 2010. The rally came a day after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals released its opinion on Booker's case. The three-judge appeals panel rejected arguments made by the deputies' attorneys, who sought immunity for their clients -- a move that Darold Kilmer, who represents Booker's family, sees as a huge step forward. Since Booker died at a Denver detention center nearly four years ago, his family has fought to hold the city accountable for his death.
Booker was tased and put in a choke hold before he died, and his death was caught on tape. The officers involved in the case attempted to claim immunity, but Kilmer argues that immunity does not apply -- and the court agreed that the case could go forward.
The rally had been planned even before the ruling came down; with help from the African Episcopal Church, a hundred or so Booker supporters shared speeches, prayers, songs and signs, then released balloons in his memory.
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"To me, this timing is a coincidence," says Kilmer. "For folks at AME, this rally happened because of what went on yesterday."
The rally was led by Bishop Theodore Larry Kirkland; also on hand were Dr. Timothy E, Tyler, pastor at AME, and Booker's eighty-year-old mother, Roxey Walton. Each shared a few words expressing their grief, condolences and need for justice in the case.
"Continue to do what you're doing," Walton said, choking back tears. "I appreciate you all.... Anyone who has a son, who has gotten killed by police, you know it's hard."
More from our News archive circa May 2011: "Marvin Booker death: Denver Sheriff Department members cleared (VIDEO)."