Denver police are investigating death at downtown jail
An inmate in Denver’s Downtown Detention Center was killed Monday morning during a fight with another inmate, the Denver Police Department said.
No deputies were involved in the fight, sources told The Denver Post.
The names of inmates involved, cause of death or circumstances surrounding the altercation have not been released by the Denver Police Department, which is investigating the death.
“The incident that occurred at the Downtown Detention Center this morning remains under investigation, and there are limited details that can be shared at this time,” Sheriff Patrick Firman said in an emailed statement. “However, we can confirm that the facility was appropriately staffed and the housing unit where the incident occurred was below capacity. Employees and the inmates who witnessed the incident have been offered wellness assistance, and we will continue to support their well-being.”
The death comes at a time when the Denver Sheriff Department has been criticized by its deputies’ union for increasing violence inside the city’s two jails.
Last year, the sheriff’s department reported 513 inmate-on-inmate assaults, six times the number of assaults reported four years ago, according to a Denver Post report in April. Assaults on deputies also have been on the rise.
While Firman has acknowledged the increasing violence, he has said a reason for increasing violence is unknown. Some observers attribute the violence to crowded jails, more inmates with mental illnesses and to deputies who have become more vigilant in filling out reports.
Between 2011 and 2015, 20 people died in Denver’s jails, a Denver Post investigation found this year. That was the highest number of deaths among the state’s 56 county jail systems; Denver’s is the largest jail in the state.