NewsCovering Colorado


El Paso County Sheriff's Office reaches $1 million settlement with family of deceased inmate

Posted at 9:42 PM, Feb 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-06 23:42:17-05

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — On Tuesday, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office announced a $1 million settlement was reached with the family of a woman who died nearly two years ago in her El Paso County Jail cell.

Deputies said 18-year-old Dezaree Archuleta was found hanging and unresponsive in her cell in June of 2022. Archuleta was one of nine people who died in the jail in 2022, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Following her death, Archuleta's family filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's office and an insurance carrier arguing their daughter was on suicide watch, claiming better supervision could have saved her life.

The sheriff's office released a statement on Tuesday offering their condolences. They also stated they hope the settlement allows the family to heal from their loss.

The $1,000,000 will come from two $500,000 payments from El Paso County and Berkley Public Entity / Gemini Insurance Company the excess insurance carrier for the county.

The Colorado Springs People's Coalition (CSPC) has been calling for changes at the jail. They said in a statement:

This is a huge victory for all nine families who have lost their loved ones to abusive, torturous, and inhumane conditions inside our county jail in the year of 2022... In celebrating this victory for the movement we must not forget our greater calls for community control of the El Paso County Sheriff's Department through independent civilian oversight!
Colorado Springs Peoples Coalition

The CSPC organized a protest with the family of Dezaree Archuleta to remember her as well as Cassandra Ramirez and Daniel Murray, two inmates who died within 10 hours of each other on July 3 and 4, 2022.

At the time of the protest, the grassroots organization called for the sheriff's office to end a contract with Wellpath, the company that provides health care inside the jail, and to adopt a community-based non-profit healthcare model.

News 5 has contacted Archuleta's family for an interview but they are not speaking at this time.

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