Other Group

Denver Justice Project

Website:

www.denverjusticeproject.org/

Location:

Denver, CO

Founded:

2015 [15]

The Denver Justice Project is a left-of-center policing policy organization. It began in 2015 as an unsuccessful attempt to recall then-Denver, Colorado district attorney Mitch Morrissey for not prosecuting police officers. [1]

In 2021, the group held a meeting to discuss “why abolishing the police and prison system can’t wait.” [2] The organization has said its goals are to “transform law enforcement,” to “end mass incarceration,” and to work toward “racial justice.” [3]

Background

The Denver Justice Project (DJP) states that its goals are to “transform law enforcement,” to “end mass incarceration,” and to work toward “racial justice” in part through “intersectional movement building.” [4]

In June 2021, the Denver Justice Project held a meeting to talk about “why abolishing the police and prison system can’t wait.” [5]

In 2022, the Denver Justice Project joined other like-minded organizations in Denver and Aurora to form a statewide task force focused on police accountability and transparency. Partners included the Aurora Police Oversight Task Force and the Denver Task Force to Reimagine Policing and Public Safety. [6]

The DJP advocates for requiring police officers to pay their own legal costs if they are charged with police misconduct, so the taxpayers do not have to cover the costs. [7]

History

The Denver Justice Project was established in 2015 as a movement to recall Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrisey. The campaign’s objection was that Morrissey was not prosecuting police officers whom the advocates alleged assaulted or murdered community members. [8]

The recall effort was unsuccessful. However, the campaign infrastructure remained aligned to push for left-wing criminal justice policies in the city of Denver and adopted the name “Denver Justice Project.” The group also lobbied local and state elected officials and became involved in campaigns. [9]

The group hosted “teach-ins” about the power of a district attorney. It also took part in candidate forums. The DJP also lobbied members of the city council regarding the criminal justice system, and works on get-out-the-vote campaigns. [10]

Advocacy

The DJP claims credit for the Colorado State Legislature passing SB217, the “Law Enforcement Integrity Act.” The legislation ended qualified immunity for police officers, requires officers to intervene to stop excessive force, outlaws chokeholds and the use of deadly force on suspects fleeing police, protects protesters from police tear gas and projectiles, mandates body cameras and makes police misconduct video publicly available, authorizes the state attorney general to bring lawsuits to force bad police departments to change, requires data collection and public reporting on policing and established a public database to prevent rehiring of bad officers. [11]

Denver Justice Project co-founder Alexander Landau was instrumental in getting local police officers to wear body cameras. [12]

In 2018, Denver Public Defender Elisabeth Epps praised the DJP, stating, “Our work at DJP is aimed at dismantling and replacing the systems that allow racist drug laws to harm our community.” [13]

In a Denver City Council meeting in 2019, during a debate about increasing the power of the city’s Citizen Oversight Board, Denver Justice Project co-founder Roshan Bliss said, “Denver police and sheriff are the only agencies in the city that are allowed to kill people in the course of their normal work. And we think that it’s just utterly reasonable that they be subject to the highest level of oversight because of that power.” [14]

References

  1. “About.” Denver Justice Project. Accessed October 22, 2022. http://www.denverjusticeproject.org/about/ ^
  2. Tom Gantert and Brett Rowland. “Continuing controversies dominate Denver police reform efforts.” The Center Square. August 31, 2022. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.thecentersquare.com/colorado/continuing-controversies-dominate-denver-police-reform-efforts/article_fd1d3fd6-2808-11ed-a274-67dab357cc2b.html ^
  3. “Denver Justice Project.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/denverjusticeproject/about/ ^
  4. “Denver Justice Project.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/denverjusticeproject/about/ ^
  5.  Tom Gantert and Brett Rowland. “Continuing controversies dominate Denver police reform efforts.” The Center Square. August 31, 2022. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.thecentersquare.com/colorado/continuing-controversies-dominate-denver-police-reform-efforts/article_fd1d3fd6-2808-11ed-a274-67dab357cc2b.html ^
  6. Brennan, Noel. “Denver, Aurora community groups want statewide task force on police accountability.” 9 News. October 3, 2022. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/community-groups-want-statewide-task-force-police-accountability/73-68fca949-80c5-4b92-a35b-d46da9df2420 ^
  7.  Robert Davis, Aisha Rios and Alex Landau. “We all pick up tab for police misconduct.” The Gazette. April 1, 2022. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://gazette.com/opinion/denver-columns/guest-column-we-all-pick-up-tab-for-police-misconduct/article_6c7b8b66-b064-11ec-9856-e33af1da8d84.html ^
  8. “About.” Denver Justice Project. Accessed October 22, 2022. http://www.denverjusticeproject.org/about/ ^
  9. “Denver Justice Project.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/denverjusticeproject/about/ ^
  10.  “Denver Justice Project.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/denverjusticeproject/about/ ^
  11. “Law Enforcement Integrity Act Passes with Strong Bipartisan Support.” Denver Justice Project. Accessed October 22, 2022. http://www.denverjusticeproject.org/ ^
  12. Sachs, David. “Another Denver Justice Project co-founder Alexander Landau was instrumental in getting local police officers to wear body cameras.” Denverite. November 18, 2020. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://denverite.com/2020/11/18/new-body-cameras-would-automatically-start-recording-when-officers-draw-their-weapons/ ^
  13. Karlik, Michael. “Bail abolitionist Elisabeth Epps wins public service award from UVA Law.” Colorado Politics. February 16, 2021. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.coloradopolitics.com/denver/bail-abolitionist-elisabeth-epps-wins-public-service-award-from-uva-law/article_1e28b1e4-70de-11eb-93f1-df87cc3d150e.html ^
  14. Sach, David. “The watchdog that oversees Denver’s police and sheriff departments might get sharper teeth.” Denverite. January 16, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://denverite.com/2019/01/16/the-watchdog-that-oversees-denvers-police-and-sheriff-departments-might-get-sharper-teeth/ ^
  15. “Denver Justice Project.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 22, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/denverjusticeproject/about/ ^
  See an error? Let us know!

Denver Justice Project

2600 Leyden St.
Denver, CO 80207