Kemp family gets $1M in settlement; CSP to revamp trooper training

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

The Colorado State patrol is settling with the family of a Grand Junction man who was shot and killed in his home by a state trooper.

Monday, the ACLU announced the family of Jason Kemp will get one million dollars from state patrol, putting an end to a federal wrongful death lawsuit.

Kemp's family and friends said the last two years have been tough, and that nothing will bring back the person that they love. While the money will help the family pay for their legal battles, they said it's another part of the settlement that is helping shine a light on the injustice they said Jason suffered.

"He was an amazing person, you could call him and it didn't matter what time, you could call him at 2 o'clock in the morning and he would be there for you," family friend Angela Graveline said.

Graveline sat in the courtroom everyday, watching as charges were dropped against Colorado state troopers Ivan Lawyer and Kirk Firko, Lawyer, shooting Kemp in his home while trying to question him about a traffic accident they thought he was involved in, also suspecting he may have been driving under the influence of alcohol.

"I wanted to be there mainly to support the Kemp family, to know that they had support, and you know, Jason needed justice," Graveline said.

Monday, the family got some justice, state patrol agreeing to settle a lawsuit with the ACLU that will pay the family one million dollars, also agreeing to set up new training programs to prevent a future incident like this one.

"State troopers violated the constitution when they unjustifiably kicked in Jason Kemp’s front door and shot and killed him,” ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein said. "Supervisors all the way up the chain of command were responsible for recklessly deficient training that was the ultimate cause of this needless and preventable death."

Kemp's parents released statements Monday thanking the ACLU:

Keith Kemp, father of Jason Alan Kemp
Mr. Kemp says, “Many of our constitutional rights are in place to protect us from the government. The Colorado State Patrol are to protect and serve. Instead they violated the constitution and in the process ended Jason’s life. Jason died asserting his constitutional rights. Because the criminal charges filed against the state troopers were dismissed, this lawsuit was the only way to shine light on the injustice Jason suffered. The ACLU was instrumental in having the state of Colorado and the CSP change their way of doing business. With the ACLU’s vigilance, I hope no more lives will be lost.”

Connie Kemp, mother of Jason Alan Kemp
Ms. Kemp says, “I want to thank Baker Hostetler for working pro bono in cooperation with the Colorado ACLU to protect the public and provide hope for all the families affected by injustice against them. We are gratified that the legal costs incurred by this long, arduous fight have been donated to the ACLU. I want to say thank you to the ACLU on behalf of my son Jason and encourage the public to continue to support the Colorado ACLU. They collectively empower every citizen of Colorado.”

While Graveline said she's happy to hear CSP will have new training, she said she wishes it could have been earlier, early enough to save her friend.

"They should have already been through that, it's sad that it takes such a tragedy for them to have to have that kind of training, but i think it will do really good for the community," she said.

Graveline told KKCO 11 News that even though sitting through the trials was difficult on the family, they have become stronger, strong enough, she says, that Kemp's parents have forgiven the troopers.

Even though charges were dismissed against Lawyer and Firko, both troopers were fired from the state patrol.


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