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Denver Settles Suit over Sanctioned Assaults of Prisoner for $3.5 Million

On July 24, 2014, the City and County of Denver, Colorado signed off on a $3.5 million settlement of a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by a prisoner who was allegedly beaten and scalded with steaming water by prisoners who were working with a corrupt guard and assaulted by another guard after he returned from the hospital.  The settlement also required a review of both jail procedures and the procedures used by the City Attorney in dealing with prisoner litigation.

Jamal Hunter was incarcerated at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in 2011.  There he ran afoul of prisoner Amos Page, who, according to court documents, was “in business” with guard Gaynel Rumer.

Rumer allegedly supplied Page with pornographic magazines and marijuana for resell to other prisoners. The last straw was when Hunter openly mocked Rumer for being drunk on the job.  Rumer allegedly told Page to take care of Hunter and assisted the ensuing assault by giving various prisoners access to Hunter’s cell, locking them in the cell, turning off the lights to the cell so its camera would not record events, and ignoring the sounds of  multiple assaults-including Hunter screaming for over an hour.

Hunter was severely beaten and scalded with steaming water about the genitals.  He was choked unconscious and knocked unconscious multiple times.  Suffocating to death with a trash bat Rumer had provided was discussed.  Eventually, Hunter managed to get out the door of the cell and into an area under the same video surveillance that showed what Rumer had been doing prior to and during the assault.  There, he was “discovered” by Rumer.

Hunter’s injuries required hospitalization.  Upon his return to the jail, he allegedly received inadequate medical attention for his injuries.  He repeatedly requested medical aide and was ignored by guards.  His persistent demands to see a nurse allegedly irritated guard Edward Keller, who pinned Hunter and choked him.  This was also video recorded.

With the assistance of Denver attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai, Hunter filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City and County of Denver, Rumer and Keller.  The defendants offered $3.5 million to settle the lawsuit.  They also agreed to review policies and practices on: handling discovery in civil cases, internal affairs investigations of city agencies and professional development of attorneys representing the city. 

“My lawyers didn’t come out asking for money,” said Hunter.  “We were trying to make reform and get some real justice.  It is important that we listen to every case-that we discern the cases a little better.”

Hunter plans to use the money to open a salon that caters to cancer patients who have lost their hair doe to chemotherapy.

“With my background in cosmetology, I’m definitely about doing the wigs for the center patients, putting together a foundation,” said Hunter, who was permanently disfigured by the beatings and scalding.  See: Hunter v. City and County of Denver, U.S.D.C.  D.Col. , Case No.  12-cv-02682-JLK-MJW.  Additional source:  9Wants to Know

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Related legal case

Hunter v. City and County of Denver