Headlines June 30, 2020

Headlines June 30, 2020

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Ballots for the state’s primary election must be dropped off by 7pm this evening.

Voters who are registered with a specific party can vote on who will represent their party in each race in the general election on November 3.

Unaffiliated voters may choose to vote either a Democratic or Republican ballot, but not both.

There are ballot drop boxes throughout the Front Range as well as voter centers where people can register to vote or get a replacement ballot.

Mircalla Wozniak with the Boulder County Clerk and Recorders Office says the centers offer plenty of space for social distancing to allow for voter safety.

“We’ve added demarcations on the floor to make sure everyone stays 6 feet apart from each other. We’ve acquired and supplied PPE for our election judges and of course we’re asking members of the public to please wear face coverings when they do come in and vote,” she said.

The City of Denver and the City of Aurora will this evening host virtual community meetings on policing.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman asked city council to schedule a special meeting to address tactics used by police on Saturday during the rallies calling for justice in the death of Elijah McClain.

Aurora is also in the process of selecting a new chief of police. One of the four candidates, Vanessa Wilson, is the current interim chief. She has defended the police actions on Saturday which included deploying pepper spray at protestors.

The special city council meeting starts at 5.30 this afternoon and will be live streamed at auroratv.org.

Several Aurora police officers have been placed on leave pending an investigation into inappropriate photographs believed to have been taken close to where Elijah McClain was stopped last August. He died after police administered a chokehold and injected him with ketamine. He was not suspected of or charged with a crime.

According to a statement published last night on the Aurora police blog, Interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson ordered an investigation into the photographs after she learned of them last Thursday. CBS 4 reports multiple sources say the photos show officers reenacting the now banned chokehold used on McClain.

 

Listen here:

(Download Audio)

Ballots in the primary election must be turned in by 7pm this evening.

Voters who are registered with a specific party can vote on who will represent their party in each race in the general election on November 3. Unaffiliated voters may choose to vote either a Democratic or Republican ballot, but not both.

Statewide registered Democrats are choosing between former speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff and former governor John Hickenlooper in the race to decide who will face Cory Gardner in the senate race in November.

Several Indigenous women have written a letter to Hickenlooper calling on him to drop out of the race. In a letter published on Medium.com the women referred to pictures on social media of John Hickenlooper, dressed in Native American headdress at an event called the One Shot Antelope Hunt.

They say the event gathers mostly elite white men to compete to see who can kill the most antelope with one shot. Hickenlooper participated in the event multiple times when he was governor.

The winner of the event is dressed in a costume headdress, while the “loser” of the event is dressed as what event attendees call a “squaw,” a misogynistic ethnic slur for a North American Indian woman.

The letter says Hickenlooper displayed an unacceptable lack of judgment in choosing to participate in this event, while disrespecting Indigenous women and appropriating traditional dress of Native peoples,” and that, “throughout the history of colonization, these tropes have been weaponized to subject Indigenous women to sexual violence and dehumanization.”

One of the women who signed the letter is Tara Houska, the co-founder of “Not Your Mascots.” On Sunday Houska tweeted,
“Hickenlooper, friend of the oil & gas industry vehemently opposed by indigenous land defenders, participates (in) a hunt where winners don headdresses & losers dress as “squaws.” Ever heard of #MMIW? Why are Dems endorsing this guy?”

The tweet tagged Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker who have endorsed Hickenlooper. The hashtag MMIW refers to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and is a reference to the disproportionate violence experienced by Indigenous women.

Hickenlooper’s candidacy in the primary has drawn criticism from environmental groups who point to his record as governor when he brought lawsuits against different communities in the state who were trying to enact local control over fracking.

Several Aurora police officers have been placed on leave pending an investigation into photographs believed to have been taken close to where Elijah McClain was stopped last August. He died after police administered a chokehold and injected him with ketamine.

According to a statement published last night on the Aurora police blog, Interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson was apprised of allegations reported to Internal Affairs by an Aurora Police Officer alleging multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died. The statement said that all involved officers were immediately placed on administrative leave with pay in non-enforcement capacities.

Interim Chief Wilson said the investigation will be publicly released in its entirety promptly upon its conclusion.

Yesterday Chief Wilson defended police actions on Saturday at a vigil for Elijah McClain. Pepper spray was used on people attending a rally and violin vigil

Aurora Police tweeted on Saturday that some protesters threw rocks and bottles at officers which led to the police issuing an order to disperse and using pepper spray.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman has called a special City Council meeting for today to question the police department’s response to the rallies.

The Colorado Supreme Court has upheld the state’s ban on large capacity gun magazines. In its decision, the court says limiting magazines to 15 rounds does not violate people’s right to defend themselves under the state constitution.

The law dates to 2013, the year after the Aurora Theater shooting, and was part of an effort to limit the number of deaths in mass shootings. The court concluded that the law was a reasonable exercise of the state’s police power.

Governor Jared Polis yesterday signed into a law a bill that allows him to mass-pardon Coloradans with minor marijuana possession convictions.

House Bill 1424 was passed on the last day of the 2020 legislative session. It also aims to make the legal marijuana industry more accessible to people who have been arrested or convicted on a minor marijuana offense.

Rep. James Coleman, a Democrat from Denver and sponsor of the bill, says the bill is aimed at leveling the playing field and it acknowledges that the Black community has been disproportionately criminalized because of marijuana while others have profited.

Denver City Council yesterday canceled its scheduled in-person meeting citing concerns over COVID-19 and the large crowds that have attended the last two meetings.

That didn’t stop members of the public from having their own meeting. The Denverite reports that around 200 people held their own meeting on the steps of city hall. These included members of the Afro Liberation Front, the Party for Socialism and others upset with systemic racism and police violence against people of color.

Those who spoke called for the police to abolished; demanded an end to police patrols and the right for all city employees to collectively bargain like the Denver Police Department can.