Civil Rights

Denver to pay $5K to $52K to settle mistaken-arrest cases blamed on 'recklessly sloppy police work'

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The Denver City Council agreed Monday to pay $337,250 to settle federal civil rights litigation brought by three men who were arrested and jailed after being mistaken for someone else.

Most of the money will got to the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which pursued the Denver case on behalf of the plaintiffs, the Denver Post reports.

However, Muse Jama, Jose Ernesto Ibarra, Dennis Michael Smith will get $50,000, $52,000 and $5,000, respectively, for being jailed for a week, 25 days and a little less than five hours.

The ACLU blamed the arrests on “recklessly sloppy police work” when it filed suit in 2008. Mark Silverstein, who serves as legal director for the Colorado chapter, said Denver law enforcement has improved its arrest procedures since then.

Other claims were settled earlier. An ACLU press release provides more details.

City attorney Scott Martinez told the Post that Denver plans to keep working with the ACLU to enhance its arrest warrant process.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “ACLU Says Hundreds Have Been Arrested and Jailed in Denver on Warrants for Other Suspects”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Jailed based on mistaken identity, some who did nothing wrong are held days, weeks or months”

ABAJournal.com: “Mistakenly arrested again, at court hearing in earlier mistaken-arrest case, woman plans to sue”

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