Denver faces lawsuit demanding release of video related to inmate’s death

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Michael Lee Marshall (Photo provided by family)

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DENVER — A lawsuit filed by the online website The Colorado Statesman claims the city of Denver doesn’t want the public to see how an inmate at the Denver Detention Center died in November.

An autopsy determined inmate Michael Lee Marshall, 50, died of asphyxia after being restrained by deputies.

The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and that he likely choked on his own vomit. He was restrained during “an acute psychotic episode” on Nov. 11, according to the medical examiner’s office.

“That’s what this lawsuit about. It’s about transparency in government. We should see what’s on the video instead of just listening to what the city says occurred,” plaintiff’s attorney Elizabeth Wang said.

It’s a fight Wang’s firm has fought before. Last year, her law firm won a similar lawsuit in 16-year-old Laquan McDonald’s death. He was shot 16 times by Chicago police, all of it recorded on video.

“The city of Chicago was saying the exact same thing, but a judge agreed with us and disagreed with the city and the video was released,” Wang said.

The city of Denver declined to comment on the lawsuit. But it has said the video would be released once the investigation is finished.

Marshall was arrested Nov. 7 for trespassing and disturbing the peace, and pleaded not guilty, the sheriff’s department said. He was being held on $100 bond.

“I just want you all to know that my uncle was a beautiful person,” Natalia Marshall said.

Protesters who are angry the video hasn’t been released started a hunger strike more than a week ago.

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