DocuWest has earned a well deserved reputation for tackling social justice issues head-on. This year, we are proud to announce The Marvin Booker and Michael Marshall Search for Justice
DocuWest has earned a well deserved reputation for tackling social justice issues head-on. This year, we are proud to announce The Marvin Booker and Michael Marshall Search for Justice Screening. Marvin Booker and Michael Marshall are two black, Denver citizens. Each tragically died inside Denver’s notorious Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center.
In 2010, Marvin Booker a 56 year old, homeless, street preacher, was beaten to death by five Denver jail guards for wanting to retrieve his shoes before being placed in a cell. His brutal death, was captured on-video, and witnessed by more than 20 people. Incredibly the jail guards were neither indicted, nor reprimanded. His case sparked outrage across the city.
In 2015, Michael Marshall, another homeless citizen, who was suffering from a psychotic episode while in custody at the jail died after he aspirated on vomit while being restrained face-down for more than 10 minutes by multiple deputies. The Denver Post reported, “Disciplinary decisions in the Marshall case led to a public outcry because two deputies were given 10-day suspensions and a captain was suspended for 16 days. All three suspensions have been overturned.”
The devout Booker family from Memphis, their two incredible civil rights attorneys, Darold Killmer, and Mari Newman from the law firm of Killmer, Lane & Newman, and clergy, friends and activists from both cities fought to restore Marvin’s constitutional rights. In 2014, in a groundbreaking civil rights trial held in Federal court, a jury found the five deputies guilty of excessive force in the death of Marvin Booker. They awarded the Booker family 4.65 million dollars for their loss.
The strong-willed, Marshall family, with the same legal team who represented the Booker family, along with clergy, friends and activists from Denver also sought to restore Michael’s constitutional rights. With the case headed to trial, in late 2017, the City settled with the Marshall family for 4.65 million dollars.
The Booker and Marshall families have each lost a loved one due to use of force so excessive that it shocks the senses. The killing of unarmed black citizens is the largest civil rights issue our country faces. Each family acknowledges that justice was not served. DocuWest is committed to making sure the names of Marvin Booker, and Michael Marshall live on. The search for justice screening is a yearly remembrance of two special men. It is a stark reminder that justice is not always served. It is acknowledgement to other families, and to other filmmakers who tell their stories, and document their loss, that we all must confront not just what justice means, but what is revealed about those who continue to search for it.
This year, the festival is proud to recognize Dir. Rudy Valdez and his film, The Sentence.
The film draws from hundreds of hours of footage to tell the story of Cindy Shank, a woman who received a 15-year mandatory sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend — something known informally as “the girlfriend problem.” Cindy’s brother Rudy Valdez’ s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s three young children for her, both the everyday details and the milestones — moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. Whether the family’s fight for Cindy’s release will allow her to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis.
(Friday) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Sloans Lake
4255 W Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80204
DocuWest Film and Music Festivalinfo@docuwestfest.com