Headlines June 26, 2020

Headlines June 26, 2020

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A second statue was torn down in Denver overnight.

Late Thursday a 15-foot bronze sculpture in Civic Center Park, depicting a four-sided human figure encircled in rings, was pulled down by a group of protestors.

The plaque on base of the statue said it is titled “In Honor of Christopher Columbus.”

Community members, including Denver Public School Board member Tay Anderson, who was one of the organizers of the recent anti-racism protests, have been calling on the city to remove the plaque that dedicates the work to Columbus.

The American Indian Movement of Colorado has advocated for removal or correction of the statue’s plaque since the 1990s.

Video posted on social media shows people trying to pull the entire structure down after 11pm last night.

Denver police say they are investigating.

Some RTD workers picketed Denver transit stations this morning to ask passengers for help as RTD starts front-door boarding on Wednesday, July 1.

According to a statement from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001, pickets took place this morning at Central Park Station and Denver’s Union Station.

The statement says the biggest problem facing bus and train operators right now is passengers who are not wearing masks.

The union says that it wants RTD to return to front-door boarding and fare collection, but asks that it is done safely. They are demanding that shields to protect operators from droplets are installed;  personal protective equipment like disinfectants, gloves and the face masks be provided to drivers;  passengers must wear masks and proper social distancing be enforced.

This morning RTD released a statement saying it has implemented a variety of safety measures and will start a new effort by making face coverings available to riders as supplies last.

RTD’s safety protocols  include:
·  Cleaning and sanitizing buses and trains daily.
·  Requiring operators and riders to wear masks.
·  Providing operators an ample supply of PPE, including face coverings, gloves, hand sanitizer, and face shields.

Local health departments have issued guidance for schools gearing up to reopen for in-person classes in August.

On Thursday the Metro Denver Partnership for Health, a consortium of six health departments including Boulder County and Broomfield, issued its recommendations.

These include having students and teachers stay in the same group together, requiring that masks be worn as much as possible and checking symptoms daily.

 

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On Thursday Governor Polis announced he was appointing the Attorney General Phil Weiser as the special prosecutor into an investigation into the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of Aurora police last August.

Polis signed an executive order that says Weiser will investigate the case, and if the facts support it, “criminally prosecute any individuals whose actions caused the death of Elijah McClain.”

In a subsequent statement Attorney General Weiser said that the “investigation will be thorough, guided by the facts, and worthy of public trust and confidence in the criminal justice system.”

Three members of Aurora City Council have called on the city to conduct an independent investigation after city council canceled the contract for a third-party investigator over concerns that the investigator may be biased.

Elijah McClain died in August 2019 after an interaction with police in Aurora. A caller to 911 reported that a man was wearing a ski mask and waving their arms around. McClain was walking home from a convenience store, listening to music, was not armed and did not present a threat to anyone. Police put him in a chokehold and injected him with ketamine. McClain suffered two heart attacks on his way to the hospital.

The Adams County District Attorney did not bring charges against the officers involved. In a statement defending that decision issued on Thursday, DA Dave Young said ultimately, while he may share the vast public opinion that Elijah McClain’s death could have been avoided, it is not his role to file criminal charges based on opinion, but, rather, on the evidence revealed from the investigation and applicable Colorado law.

The ACLU on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the city of Denver on behalf of Black Lives Matter 5280 and individual plaintiffs who were injured by police while protesting police violence in late May and early June.

According to a statement from the ACLU, the lawsuit challenges the use of tear gas and “less-lethal” weapons that police used against nonviolent protesters who were demonstrating over the killing of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement.

The suit says that the officers’ unjustified attacks on protesters’ First and Fourth Amendment rights caused both physical and emotional injuries. It also says that the police actions violated the Denver Police Department’s own internal use of force policies.

Statues and Monuments related to the Civil War are being taken down all across the United States.

In Denver, the Civil War statue of a cavalry man that sits in front of the Colorado State Capitol was knocked down from its post around 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

Late last night another statue was torn down in downtown Denver. Close to midnight a statue with ties to Christopher Columbus at Civic Center Park was torn down by protestors.

The statue has a plaque at its base honoring Columbus. In 1992, the American Indian Movement called for the removal of the plaque, but it remained.