Colorado Independent sues Denver for release of Michael Marshall jail video

From The Colorado IndependentThe Colorado Independent has sued the City and County of Denver demanding the release of videotapes showing sheriff’s deputies’ fatal confrontation with Michael Lee Marshall, a mentally ill, homeless man, in the city jail.

The complaint alleges that the city violated Colorado’s Criminal Justice Records Act in November when it denied The Independent’s request for videotapes, incident and witness reports and other materials related to Marshall’s case. Releasing the information serves the public’s “strong and compelling interest in the disclosure of information relevant to official misconduct by government officials,” according to the complaint filed Wednesday in Denver District Court.

“Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration has pledged transparency around the death of Michael Lee Marshall, yet shut down our open records request. That’s not transparency. It’s shrouding the incident in darkness,” says Susan Greene, The Colorado Independent’s editor and executive director.

“Terms like ‘transparency’ and ‘public information’ shouldn’t be thrown around in platitudes and hollow promises,” Greene adds. “In Colorado, those principles aren’t just the tools we journalists need to do our jobs. They’re the law. Last time we checked, public officials — even public officials in Denver — must be accountable under that law. This lawsuit is our way to make them accountable.”

Neither Hancock’s office, his Safety Department nor City Attorney Scott Martinez has responded to this reporter’s inquiries about the lawsuit.

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