The Problem with Massive Cash Payments from Police Departments

In July 2010, a homeless street preacher named Marvin Booker was being processed in a Denver County jail when a guard directed him toward a cell. Booker walked in the opposite direction, indicating he needed to grab his shoes. An officer grabbed his arm and Booker resisted, pushing her away. Three more officers jumped on top of him, tasing Booker in the thigh before placing him in a sleeper hold. When the officers stood up, they found Booker limp on the ground, unconscious. He was dead.

Earlier this month, a federal grand jury awarded Booker’s family $4.65 million, the largest police settlement in Denver history. “The fight leading up to that verdict was exhausting,” says Darold Killmer, the Booker family attorney. “The city spent millions defending themselves against charges of excessive force.”

police badge and cash