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As Denver settles with Jessica Hernandez’s family, her community looks back on two years of pain and change

Jose Hernandez and Laura Rosales stood before more than dozen reporters and cameras in Denver’s city hall this morning, a thicket of microphones thrust toward them. His eyes welled red and her mascara smeared at the edges of her eyes. They spoke quietly of their loss.

“It is a pain so strong that no one can even imagine,” she said in Spanish. “You can’t even cry when you lose your baby.”

Today, they’d won a measure of closure: The city announced that it would pay out a substantial figure to the family, and would acknowledge that it had changed its policies in the wake of the death of Jessica Hernandez, the couple’s daughter.

For the police department, and for its critics, it was a day to reflect on years of activism and reform. But the family’s words were only about their daughter, who was shot and killed by Denver police officers two years ago at age 17.

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