Michael Lee Marshall

How much a dollar cost?

My friend, Mike, was recently killed by sheriff’s deputies at the Denver jail. “Homicide,” said the county coroner, which just means he didn’t kill himself, not that anyone did anything wrong.

Mike was picked up on suspicion of trespass and disorderly conduct and held on $100 bail. He had an incident with another inmate and was restrained. Choked on his own vomit. Suffered a heart attack. He lived until his family had him removed from life support.

If I was someone without experience with mentally ill, addicted, sometimes aggressive, often erratic people, I might think it wasn’t unreasonable for sheriff’s deputies to restrain Mike to the point where he died. Except I have weekly experience with people just like Mike. If I can resolve erratic, psychotic, drug-induced behaviors nonviolently, then a Denver sheriff’s deputy sure as shit can.

But on November 11th 2015, Mike’s life was worth less than a hundred dollars.