Jamal Hunter has filed a Complaint and Jury Demand against the City of Denver and several of its deputies for doing nothing in the face of the extreme abuse he suffered at the hands of inmates and deputies while incarcerated at the jail.
Hunter was jailed on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge on April 29, 2011, and placed in Denver’s Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center. He was initially placed in a “pod,” a cluster of low-occupancy cells, with 96 other prisoners. Hunter’s cellmate snored and frequently defecated on himself in his sleep, so Hunter requested a new cellmate in the same pod. It pretty much went downhill from there for Hunter. He was moved to another pod. On June 3 he was near an inmate with Tourette’s syndrome when the other man had a verbal outburst. The guards thought that the two were fighting, separated them and took them to the nurse. According to the complaint, even though it had been established that there was no fight and that neither man was hurt, they reclassified Hunter as a more violent criminal and moved him to a pod with more violent inmates. Each time he complained to jail authorities either in writing or verbally, he was moved to a more violent and dangerous environment. After a court appearance on July 18, 2011, Hunter was confronted by the other men in his cell on July 18, 2011, around 1 p.m., and was accused of insulting them and of being a snitch.
He was tied, (yes, violent inmates had and may still have access to ropes in the Denver jail) beaten, and his nose broken, before he was told to strip and get into the shower. Not a guard to be seen. He feared rape, but instead they held him while one poured “scalding” water (yes violent inmates had and still may have access to scalding hot water in the Denver jail) on Hunter’s genitals, waist and thigh area. Describing the aftermath of the attack Hunter told reporters, “I woke up, hours later, I was screaming. To the point that one of the sheriffs’ then responded.”
Doctors at the hospital treated Hunter for second and third-degree burns. He was returned to his cell after two nights. When he complained about the pain, the guards tossed his cell. When he said something about not liking that, and asking for respect, one of the deputies reportedly lost his temper, beat, strangled him and tasered him twice before the guard could stop him.
The city is not commenting on or releasing any documentation, video or other information to the media regarding Hunter, citing a pending internal investigation. They did, however, make public a statement signed by Hunter at the jail, in the presence of a detective, that states that Hunter did not wish to press charges against his assailants because it could get him killed. According to the complaint, once released from jail, Hunter contacted the detective, asked if he could press charges, and identified his attacker. The detective dropped the case when the District Attorney refused it.
In an interview with 9news.com, Hunter confirmed that he still suffers from issues of physical intimacy and trauma, and probably will for the rest of his life. Of the attack he said, “I don’t think any human being should go through that.” According to his attorneys, “Denver is running a torture chamber in their jail. Inmates have access to ropes, boiling waters, readily able abuse each other without any monitoring or supervision whatsoever.”