Three police cars pulled into Christina FourHorn’s front yard one afternoon just before she was supposed to pick up her daughter at school. The officers had a warrant for her arrest.
“What do you mean robbery?” FourHorn remembers asking the officers. Her only brushes with the law had been a few speeding tickets.
She was locked up in a Colorado jail. They took her clothes and other belongings and handed her an oversize black-and-white striped uniform. She protested for five days, telling jailers the arrest was a mistake. Finally, her husband borrowed enough money to bail her out.
“They wouldn’t tell me the details,” she said.
Later, it became clear that FourHorn was right, that Denver police had arrested the wrong woman. Police were searching for Christin Fourhorn, who lived in Oklahoma.
Their names were similar, and Christina FourHorn, a mother with no criminal record living in Sterling, Colorado, had been caught in the mix-up…
The problem of mistaken arrests continues, said attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. The group, which represented FourHorn, calls Denver’s police work “recklessly sloppy.” An ACLU mistaken identity lawsuit on behalf of four other people is pending against Colorado police agencies…
Since the FourHorn case, the ACLU found at least 237 cases in Colorado in which police may have arrested the wrong person. The figure is likely a small sample since police often release those wrongfully arrested before the first court appearance, the ACLU said…
“Naturally police think people are lying when the person says they didn’t do it,” said Jack Ryan, an instructor at the Legal & Liability Risk Management Institute and police officer for two decades.
“But that doesn’t change the fact that there needs to be an investigation,” he added. “The overall philosophy of justice in this country is that an innocent person shouldn’t be locked up.”
In Christina FourHorn’s case, she was about 100 pounds heavier then the suspect, Christin Fourhorn. Her middle name is Ann, while the suspect’s middle name is Blue. She was also seven years older and didn’t have a tattoo on her left arm, which the suspect did.
Sounds like a police department where families buy a job for the dullest nephew. The one who couldn’t figure out how to work a shovel in the state highway department.