Urine trouble for Denver CARES

In my opinion, nothing adds pungency to a news story like urine -- and an outrageous tale brought to us by Channel 4 investigator Brian Maass is positively drenched in it. The story revolves around a 23-year-old who allegedly spent fifteen hours last October locked in a five-feet-by-six-feet room at the city's detox facility, which sports the Orwellian name Denver CARES. Trouble was, the accommodations didn't include a toilet, and the staff reportedly refused to let the man out long enough to do his business. Here's Maass' dry account of the splashy standoff that followed:

After about an hour in the quiet room, REDACTED says he needed to relieve himself but attendants told him he was not allowed out of the tiny room and would have to urinate and defecate down a drain in the middle of the floor. REDACTED refused to use the drain saying he did not want to stand, sit or sleep in his own urine or excrement for the length of his stay.

"They told me to use the drain and I told them no way," said REDACTED.

REDACTED then urinated under the door of his cell. Videotape captured by a Denver CARES camera in the hallway then shows a Denver CARES attendant apparently noticing the urine seeping out from under the door. According to information gathered by REDACTED's attorney, a mop cart was nearby. Instead of using the mop, the attendant reached into a bag of REDACTED's clothes hanging on the door, removed REDACTED's fleece jacket and a sock, dropped them on the floor and used them to sop up the liquid. A second Denver CARES attendant is seen on the videotape using his foot to push the clothing around on the floor to make sure REDACTED's clothes are absorbing the mess.

Update, 2 p.m.: When I first posted this item, the video that captured these events wasn't online -- and I griped accordingly. It's there now, however. Click here to experience the water sports.

Editor's Note: As a special case, we've removed the man's name from our report and redacted it from the news report at his request, since the name was not pertinent to the story.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts