City of Denver to pay $3.25 million to settle inmate abuse suit

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DENVER -- The City of Denver is proposing a settlement of $3.25 million in the case of a former jail inmate who claims he was abused by both police and other prisoners, and that officials subsequently covered up the attacks, the city announced Monday.

The settlement comes the day after Sheriff Gary Wilson announced his resignation.

Former inmate Jamal Hunter sued the city after video surfaced that showed deputies beating him in his cell. Later, audio recordings uncovered by a Denver Police Department investigation seemed to depict deputies telling another inmate that he would be charged with a felony if he testified against law enforcement in the case.

All of this came after Hunter was reportedly tortured by other inmates. The suit claims he screamed for an extended period of time while his genitals were being burned, but deputies did not come to his aid.

Jamal Hunter spoke exclusively to FOX31 Denver News:

“I really believe this settlement speaks toward this never happening again to another inmate.  I really appreciate Mayor Hancock for his response and stepping up to it.”

“I think it’s going to lead to the right reforms for the inmates.  I think it’s important that the reform does take place and it doesn’t go under the rug and with a settlement like this, I believe they’re going to be making the proper moves toward doing that,” Hunter said.

Under the terms of the settlement, Hunter was very limited in what he could say.

In a filing on Tuesday, Judge John L. Kane indicated that, under the terms of the settlement, Hunter will withdraw a Motion for Additional Sanctions against the city.

However, Kane wrote that if the evidence supports "allegations of systemic illegal conduct in the Denver Sheriff's Department," the judge himself may pursue sanctions against the parties involved.

"These are not matters that can be settled by agreement of the parties," Kane wrote, citing law that requires him to act if he finds evidence that a lawyer has acted inappropriately.

The filing seems to indicate that the judge could punish the city's lawyers if he finds that they lied to the court in the case. Experts said the filing is very unusual.

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