Denver DA Clears Police Officers in Death of Jessica Hernandez

Earlier today Denver district attorney Mitch Morrissey cleared the police officers who shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez.

You can read Morrissey’s decision here:

Investigation: Shooting death of Jessica Hernandez


Hernandz family lawyer Qusair Mohamedbhai released the following statement after Morrissey’s decision:

The Hernandez family is unsurprised but profoundly disappointed by the Denver District Attorney’s decision to exonerate the officers who killed their beloved Jessie on January 26, 2015. As has been the case since 1992, a Denver police officer can apparently shoot and kill members of the community without criminal consequences. According to the Denver District Attorney, an officer only has to claim fear of injury to justify taking a life. This report is a reminder that the Denver District Attorney’s Office operates as a guardian of the Denver Police Department.

District Attorney Morrissey is correct that Jessie’s death was preventable. She would not have died if Denver’s policies and training required its officers to act within the bounds of the United States Constitution and national best practices. Jessie and her friends were placed in danger by Denver Police officers’ decision to employ unnecessary deadly force as a matter of first resort. Denver refuses to take responsibility for its officers’ excessive and unreasonable conduct, and instead has once again blamed Jessie for her own death.

As the nation has become acutely aware in recent months, the problem of police abuse is not limited to Denver, but has plagued minority communities throughout the country for some time. District Attorney Morrissey’s decision only adds to the problem, rather than being a part of the solution of holding officers accountable for their excessive force. Instead of taking a step forward like in Cleveland, where the United States Department of Justice has worked with the community to revise police practices, Denver continues to take steps backward.

The Hernandez family knew that justice for Jessie’s death would not come from Denver’s insiders. The family continues to seek lawful means for justice, and for change within Denver and throughout the nation. The Hernandez family asks the community to engage in peaceful response, and continues to condemn any violence in Jessie’s name.