CLF Denver wishes to acknowledge the steps City of Denver officials have taken to recognize the pain and suffering of the Hernandez family as a result of the tragic shooting and killing by Denver police of Jessie Hernandez, a 17-year-old queer Latina youth who had her whole life ahead of her. From the beginning, CLF has called for the city to take affirmative steps toward repairing the harm to Jessie’s family for a death that should never have occurred.
We appreciate the efforts of all involved who worked to bring together a settlement in accordance with the Hernandez family’s wishes including Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Police Chief Robert White, City Attorney Kristin Bronson, Independent Monitor Nick Mitchell and the Rathod Mohamedbhai Law Firm who represented the Hernandez family throughout this ordeal.
Finally, although we believe that this is a positive first step in rebuilding trust with the Latino community whose members have been disproportionally killed by Denver police, we also acknowledge that there are several other Latino and Native American families who have yet to achieve justice for the killing of their relatives including Dion Avila, Ryan Ronquillo, Joseph Valverde, and Paul Castaway.
We hope that this settlement marks a new day for city leaders to display a willingness to promote community healing by listening with a renewed sense of concern and empathy for victims families.
We also hope that city officials will be more open to including critical voices in it’s reform efforts of Denver’s public safety agencies, including CLF, who have pushed for law enforcement reform throughout the years.
It is imperative that city officials develop a plan for repairing the harm after the killing of its citizens as a result of excessive force incidents, display a willingness to promote community healing in the aftermath of a shooting, and listen with a renewed sense of concern and empathy for victims’ families. By taking the steps, we can continue to move forward in a way that honors the lives that were senselessly lost, and prevent future of tragedies from occurring.