Denver City Council gives final approval to record $6 million settlement with Marvin Booker's family

DENVER - The family of Marvin Booker did not attend the Denver City Council meeting Monday where a record $6 million jail abuse settlement was approved.

Booker died while in custody at the downtown Denver jail in 2010. Denver County deputies shocked him with a Taser while he was handcuffed, put him in a sleeper hold and lay on top of him. The incident was captured on surveillance inside the jail.

"We were hoping that justice could have been served within that year, if not in the immediate months, but to have gone four years in fighting for Marvin's civil rights, it's been very painful, very difficult, heart-wrenching, as well as mind-boggling," said the Rev. Spencer Booker, Marvin's brother.

Rev. Spencer Booker spoke with 7NEWS by phone in St. Louis. He said his family would not be in Denver when the city council had its final vote on the payout.

"For the end to come is very gratifying to our family," said Rev. Booker. "It's bitter because nothing can bring our brother, Marvin, back to where we can touch and laugh and talk with him in this holiday season."

Booker's family sued the deputies in civil court after the FBI and the Denver district attorney declined to pursue criminal charges against the deputies.

In October, a federal judge awarded the family $4.65 million. Denver city attorney Scott Martinez initially filed a motion asking the judge to lower the amount. At the end of November, he made the decision to pay the settlement. With attorney fees the total amount is $6 million.

"It can't bring Marvin Lewis Booker back to life," said Rev. Booker. "The very thing that happened to Eric Gardner in New York happened to Marvin in Denver. He was in a chokehold that was not properly applied."

Last week, a New York grand jury chose not to indict a New York City police officer in the death of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold.

The Denver medical examiner ruled that Booker's death was a homicide, caused by "cardio respiratory arrest during physical restraint. The restraints consisted of weight applied to the decedent's body while held prone on the floor, application of a carotid sleeper hold to the decedent's neck, application of a Taser to a lower extremity in stun drive mode for 8 seconds, restriction of arm movement by cuffing his hands behind his back, and restriction of leg movement by use of an NPN (martial arts nunchuck)," the autopsy report said.

The report also stated that heart disease, emphysema, and the use of cocaine were "significant contributing factors" in Booker's death.

Booker had been arrested on drug paraphernalia charges.

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