Boulder city officials did a “180” on Tuesday, reversing a plan announced the day before to appoint former district attorney Stan Garnett to investigate what happened between a police officer and a black college student on March 1st. Garnett’s appointment was met with resistance during a community meeting to discuss racial issues on Monday. It was specifically opposed by Zayd Atkinson, the Naropa University student challenged by the officer. The officer backed down after determining Atkinson was on his own front lawn – but not before additional officers were summoned. Racial-profiling has been blamed for the aggressive confrontation. City manager Jane Brautigam told city council last night that Garnett will be replaced by a more independent investigator.
“Instead the City Attorney will be meeting with the attorneys for Mr. Atkinson on Thursday to select a mutually agreeable independent review party.”
The officer who initiated the contact has been placed on paid administrative leave. Many residents have criticized the length of time the investigation will take – 60 to 90 days – but city attorney Tom Karr explained it’s necessary to comply with union contracts signed by police officers. Brautigam also presented council with a draft document calling for a task force that would determine if a police oversight board is appropriate for Boulder.