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Safety manager says no more choke holds, church leaders call for his resignation

9:44 AM, Aug 23, 2010   |    comments
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The order comes two days after an autopsy showed the death of an inmate, Martin Booker, was ruled a homicide. Booker died last month after being restrained and Tased by deputies at the Denver County Jail.

Meanwhile, leaders of several prominent Denver churches are calling for Perea to either resign or be fired. That demand was made Sunday during a rally at Denver's new detention center, where the crowd also called for justice in Booker's death.

For Dr. Timothy E.Tyler, a pastor at Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church, who led this demonstration, it's personal. He is a long-time friend of Marvin Booker's brother.

"This gathering is for anybody that loves right and justice," Tyler said.

Because justice, he says, was denied to Booker.

"To be killed in Denver that way. And we as Black folk say nothing, something's wrong with that," Tyler said. "We stand on the ground where blood was spilled for no good reason."

Led by Tyler, the pastor of Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal church, the community members make their demands clear. They want Perea to resign or be terminated as manager of public safety for the city of Denver.

The five deputies involved in the incident continued to work, until this past Friday, when Booker's death was ruled a homicide.

"The officer involved [should] be disciplined, fired, and if necessary, brought up on murder charges," Tyler said.

Booker's autopsy report has been made public, but something else hasn't: the video that shows what happened in Booker's cell.

"If they had already seen the video before the report came out, what is it that they know now that they didn't know then?" Tyler asked.

The demonstrators also say the "sleeper hold" the autopsy reveals was used on Booker should be banned.

These are steps, they say, that would help repair the relationship between the community and the police.

"We will not allow Marvin Lewis Booker's death to be in vain," Tyler said.

As part of their demands, demonstrators also say Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper should reach out to Marvin Booker's family and members of the community.

The mayor says law enforcement efforts are something that the city is "constantly" trying to improve. 9NEWS asked the mayor to respond to the rally, and his communications director, Eric Brown, released this statement on Perea and the excessive force allegations.

The statement said: "We will not tolerate police brutality. We hear the community's concerns and share in the frustration about these latest police cases. We need to take the appropriate time to fully review the situation."

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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