Denver approves large settlement for city attorney in jail abuse case

Stuart Shapiro

DENVER — Denver City Council approved an unusual settlement Monday night for a city attorney.

It’s the latest settlement in a costly jail abuse case.

Inmate Jamal Hunter sued after he was attacked at the Denver Jail while deputies looked the other way.

The city paid Hunter more than $3 million and then suspended a city attorney, Stuart Shapiro, who accused of misconduct in the case.

But that attorney was reinstated and will now get the $660,000 settlement. The City Council approved payment of $360,000 Monday night. The other $300,000 will be paid later, according to reports.

Civil rights attorney David Lane has filed officer abuse lawsuits against the city of Denver and he said taxpayers deserve answers. “Four million dollars went into this case and the public has no good explanation into any of this,” Lane said.

Hunter’s lawsuit revealed emails and audio tapes that his lawyers said showed Denver police and Shapiro, the city attorney handling the case, intimidating and tampering with witnesses. An outraged federal judge threatened to sanction the city and Shapiro.

Scott Martinez, who was head city attorney at the time, suspended Shapiro over the alleged misconduct. But in an unexpected twist earlier this year Shapiro was reinstated with back pay. And now he’ll receive $660,000 and a letter of apology from the city.

“Somebody needs to get to the bottom of this,” Lane said.

Several council members who voted for the settlement said they believe the situation could have been avoided and they plan to work with the city attorney’s office to keep it from happening again.