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Boulder City Council Meeting Reveals Continued Racial Disparities and Problems with BPD

Posted: March 18, 2015 at 3:06 pm by , in Breaking News, Early Morning News, Featured, Morning Magazine

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As in earlier public comment sessions, Boulder City Council heard unanimous sentiment that questioned the oversight of the Boulder Police Department and about the ongoing racial disparities in Boulder.   Boulder residents described either personal or a family member’s negative experiences with local police.  Last night’s city council meeting and Monday’s Human Relation Commission meeting followed that trend.
“It’s important for city council to show some collective curiosity about the experiences of people of color in this town.” said Boulder resident Derrick Jones at tonight’s Boulder City Council meeting, “To say that there is no racism in Boulder is to say that our experiences don’t exist and that someone else i.e. white citizens of Boulder get to determine what our experiences are.  The ignorance to racism in Boulder, the lack of diversity to the point that it’s practically invisible, the testimonies of people known and unknown in my own personal experiences that have resulted in tremendous amounts of pain and suffering and make me want to relocate as soon as possible are all reasons to seriously get to know the experiences of our citizens of color and how this community treats them.”

Public testimony at the meeting on the subject was unanimous in urging City Council to take a closer look at the current structure of the Professional Standards Review Panel (PSRP) that is currently in the process of acquiring new members .  The acquisition process is a point of concern to the community since this panel oversees disciplinary actions over police yet half of its members are  police or former police officers themselves, and also because  police officers have a voice in choosing the remaining members.  Saying that the process is problematic, Boulder residents petitioned the City Council to at the very least appoint the Human Relations Commission (HRC)-an arm of City Council whose members complete a selection process and are approved by City Council-to oversee the PSRP to the extent that would warrant a complete overhaul of the current system.

Members of City Council acknowledged that they did not attend Monday’s Human Relations Commission meeting during which over ten residents repeatedly expressed an urgent need for Boulder officials to pay attention to the vulnerability and needs of people of color, the homeless, and the LGBT community. Council members at tonight’s meeting confirmed the urgency of the issue as expressed by council members Suzanne Jones who said, “I do think we should move sooner rather than later,” Tim Plass, “These are very serious matters,” Sam Weaver, “I would like to see it [a review] come sooner,” and Lisa Morzel, “I would add my voice to do this [asking the Commission for more information] as expeditiously as possible.”