In a period of seven years, there were at least 500 cases of mistaken-identity arrests in Denver, this according to a study from the ACLU and used in a lawsuit on behalf of some of those mistakenly detained in the Denver jail. Both the city and county of Denver are named in the lawsuit, which seeks compensation from people who were held for days and even weeks before the officials corrected their mistakes.
In some of these cases, the warrant was for someone of a different race, with different tattoos, and even different names. One African American male was held for nine days on a warrant for a white male, wanted in conjunction with a sex offense. It seems the deputies or officers conducting the arrests were most interested in getting someone, anyone, in jail.
Missed work and tarnished reputations abound in these victims of mistaken arrest. Imagine being arrested on a warrant for sexual assault and having to explain to a new girlfriend that they “had the wrong guy.” That’s exactly what happened to Carlos Alberto Hernandez, one of the men named in the lawsuit.
The city, not surprisingly, says that although mistakes do happen, they are the exception, and that there are safeguards in place to protect against such mistakes.
The ACLU study looked at arrests from 2002 through 2009 and searched through records and files from judges, internal affairs, jail records, and arrest warrant logs. The ACLU says they believe additional cases exist because records don’t include cases where the arrestee didn’t lodge an official complaint.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
In 2008, the city began a program where the police identification bureau would be notified when a prisoner claimed to be wrongfully incarcerated. Because this is a fairly recent program, much of the results from it weren’t included in the ACLU study.
The city and county have settled with many victims of mistaken-identity arrests, though the ACLU has more lined up. In their defense, the city’s attorneys state that the mistakes haven’t amounted to a “deliberate indifference” on the part of the city officials, that is knowing that their actions would likely lead to an infringement on someone’s constitutional rights.
Many of the cases outlined in this Denver Post article, show a complete disregard for the rights of those arrested. When a warrant is issued, much more than a name shows up in the system. Police can find a description, birthdate, and often photos and fingerprints. It seems many of these mistakes could be prevented by officers simply taking the time for a little quality assurance.
Whether you’ve been arrested and you think they have the wrong person, or if you are wanted on a warrant, a defense attorney may be able to help. Contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case.