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Denver Cops Locking Up Innocent People at an Alarming Rate

Denver Cops Locking Up Innocent People at an Alarming Rate

Carlos Alberto Hernandez spent five days in a Colorado jail – even though he’d committed no crimes and had no warrant out for his arrest. “I also lived in fear that I was going to be terminated from my employer due to the missed work and the accusations about the sexual assault charges,” Hernandez told the Denver Post. “I had problems and numerous arguments with my girlfriend because of the accusation that I was guilty of sexual assault and a sex offender.”

Carlos isn’t the only one. In 2007, Stephen Tendell was arrested after police booked a man who’d stolen his identity, who then failed to appear in court. Police refused to verify his identity, even though he’d filed the initial police report against the identity thief.

The stories keep coming – black men arrested on warrants for white offenders with similar names, a man sent to jail despite being a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than the actual suspect, an 18-year-old arrested on a warrant for a 30-year-old man, even a woman being arrested under the warrant of a man with the same first name. It usually took days for the mistakes to be uncovered, sometimes weeks. According to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, more than 500 such cases occurred between 2002 and 2009.

And these are just the cases the ACLU was able to identify through an automated system flagging keywords in old court records. (What’s especially troubling is how many of these cases made it in front of a judge, who often immediately dismissed them.)  They maintain that many more cases exist, but are difficult to accurately measure due to the lack of any kind of tracking system or accountability.

The City of Denver is defending itself, saying that these cases comprise only a very small number of total arrests. Their lawyers are also pointing to improvements in recent years, including 2007 training meant to better inform police officers of what constituted probable cause for arrest.

Denver isn’t the only US city to be hit with an ACLU lawsuit over wrongful arrests. Just last August, the city of Miami Beach was  forced to settle in a suit alleging that local police officers arrested a man as retribution when he reported them for misconduct.

 

Related Stories:

ACLU Settles Miami Wrongful Arrest Suit

Innocent Woman Imprisoned Two Months Because Nobody Checked Her ID

New Jersey Ruling Calls Police Tactics Into Question

 

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Photo By: grendelkhan

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65 comments

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5:38PM PDT on May 14, 2012

SOMETIMES IT IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS RIGHT OR WRONG WHEN THERE IS NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE. IT IS ABOUT MAKING THE WHOLE SITUATION BETTER FOR EVERY MAN, WOMEN, AND CHILD INVOLVED.

5:19PM PDT on May 14, 2012

POLICE ARE EMPLOYED TO HELP PEOPLE, NOT HURT PEOPLE.
WHERE ARE THE PETITIONS TO GET SOME COMPENSTION FOR THE UN-NEEDED ARRESTS? WHERE ARE THE PETITIONS AND POSITIVE ATTITUDES TO BRING ABOUT THE TRUE MEANING OF WHY POLICE EXIST: READY TO HELP DEFEND PEOPLE WITHOUT HURTING PEOPLE, TO BE HELPFUL AND NOT A THREAT, TO GOOD AND NOT EVIL-- AND TO NOT HURT PEOPLE. POLICE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE TO HELP PEOPLE WHEN THEY HAVE A QUESTION , TO BE KIND, POLITE, PATIENT AND VERY PATIENT, AND GIVE GOOD DIRECTIONS WHEN A PERSON NEEDS A MAP, TO HELP PREVENT AND STOP VIOLENCE WITHOUT USING VIOLENCE. THAT IS WHY POLICE WERE CREATED -- TO BE FRIENDS TO THE PEOPLE -- NOT ENEMIES.
THERE ARE MANY GOOD POLICE LEFT.

"Their lawyers are also pointing to improvements in recent years, including 2007 training meant to better inform police officers of what constituted probable cause for arrest."

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/denver-cops-locking-up-innocent-people-at-an-alarming-rate.html#ixzz1utOFp6Ka

9:52AM PDT on May 14, 2012

THIS SAYS ALOT ABOUT THE LATE GREAT USA

6:45AM PDT on May 14, 2012

No such thing as " Innocent until proven guilty"

6:47AM PST on Jan 24, 2012

I thought police had everyones picture. These kind of mistakes are outrageous.

3:22PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Smdh damn shame.............messing up peoples lives is a serious serious thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:31AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Someone needs to develop a website where people can report law enforcement activity. It could be used to track law enforcement movements around a city. It could also be used to post videos of police brutality, corruption, and other abuses of authority.

9:58AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

This is terrible!! Lets all stay away from Denver and Miami. Vacation somewhere else.

9:34AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Thomas, you coward!

If you're going to come in here and drop a turd like that, you better be able to back it up WITH FACTS.

Otherwise, you're just a troll.

6:25AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Cops throw as many people in gaol as they can
Corrections Corporation of America gets more money from the state
Politicians get their coffers filled, increase bonuses for meeting arrest quota

Ahh, the cycle of capitalism. Soon their holy work erasing the boundary between the administration and the corporation will be complete. Then the world can begin its transformation from a collective of nation-states to a conglomerate of market-states. THen we get to see this on a global level!

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