Headlines July 10, 2020

Headlines July 10, 2020

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A man is in critical condition after being shot by Longmont police early this morning. The Longmont Leader reports that the 26-year-old man was shot during a confrontation at an apartment complex parking lot in which he drew a BB gun on officers. Longmont police say the gun looked identical to a handgun.

In a statement today the police department said the man who is Black, was shot at least twice by police after he refused to drop the gun.

The two officers involved, who have not been identified, have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock today said the city’s coronavirus numbers are moving in the wrong direction. Speaking at a virtual press conference Hancock reiterated the requirement that people wear face masks when in public spaces where social distancing cannot be observed.

“When you wear a mask you are demonstrating care for those around you,” he said.

The mayor said that with more businesses opening up, the city has seen an increase in non-compliance complaints when it comes to the face mask order.

Hancock said about 2,000 people are tested for the virus each day in Denver, and recently the positivity rate has increased from 3% to 4.5%.

The Tri-County Health Department has ordered the agency’s headquarters in Greenwood Village to close temporarily after police informed staff of a threat against the department’s building.

Officials have not given details of the specific nature of the threat.

Earlier this week the Tri-County Health Department issued a face-covering mandate for the residents of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

In response, Douglas County Commissioners yesterday directed the County Attorney to opt-out of that mask mandate order and to give written notice of intent to withdraw from the health department.

The Boulder County Sheriff today enacted Level 2 Fire Restrictions for western Boulder County due to increasing fire danger, lack of moisture and the forecast for hot temperatures.

According to a statement from the sheriff’s department, they are also concerned about the firefighting and law enforcement resources during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The fire restrictions include the mountain areas of Boulder County. The mountain areas include any and all unincorporated areas of the county.

The fire ban prohibits campfires, or stove fires on private and public lands. This includes charcoal grills and barbecues and includes use in developed camping and picnic grounds.

 

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Greenwood Village, a suburb south of Denver is facing backlash after its city council this week unanimously approved a measure that ensures that police officers won’t be sued if they mistreat or harm a citizen.

The resolution was passed on Monday and says that the city will never find its officers have acted in bad faith. This shields them from having to face personal financial liability for misconduct on the job.

The vote is a reaction to the recent legislation that brought sweeping police reform including the removal of qualified immunity. Senate Bill 217 was signed into law last month.

State Rep. Leslie Herod a Democrat from Denver and one of the lead sponsors of Senate Bill 217, called Greenwood Village’s resolution an “egregious” policy.

On Thursday more than 100 protesters marched and rallied outside of Greenwood Village City Hall expressing their objections to the resolution.
The state’s attorney general Phil Weiser tweeted in response to the resolution, this is wrong, we can’t let this stand.

In a statement yesterday Weiser said, “If local governments pass resolutions to place a blanket shield for their law enforcement officers, regardless of whether they act in bad faith, they are going against the spirit of SB 20-217 and its goal of accountability for wrongful conduct.”

On Thursday, two Aurora police officers, Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich, have appealed their firing for taking photos in the same location where Elijah McClain was stopped on his way home from a store last year.

The Sentinel Colorado reports that Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson fired both Marrero and Dittrich, as well as Officer Jason Rosenblatt, for their involvement in the distribution of two selfies on July 3.

Dittrich and Marrero posed in the photo taken last October with fellow officer Jaron Jones as they imitated the vascular neck restraint which was used on McClain on Billings Street on August 24, 2019. McClain died six days later.

Jones resigned from the department the day before Wilson announced her disciplinary recommendations. Rosenblatt, who was one of the three officers who originally detained McClain, was fired because he responded “haha” upon being texted the photo. He has yet to file his own appeal.
An internal whistleblower alerted superiors late last month.

The civil service commission will now schedule hearings to consider the appeals.

Local Boulder groups that want voters to have a say in the controversial CU South annexation process are pushing back on a newspaper article that suggested their effort had folded.

A Daily Camera story suggested a charter amendment ballot initiative the groups Save South Boulder and PLAN-Boulder hoped voters would decide on this fall’s ballot was kaput.

The groups say, however, that the article is misleading and they will continue their effort. When it comes to petitions and initiatives for the fall ballot – and there are several pending – the coronavirus pandemic has created confusion about deadlines for signature collection.

The measure, assuming adequate signatures were obtained, would have allowed voters input on the terms of annexation of the CU South property. The property, at the south entrance to Boulder, is where the University plans to build new facilities sometime in the future. Both groups oppose that scenario and instead would like to see a land swap between the City and CU that would move the new campus elsewhere, leaving the land in the South Boulder Creek floodplain free from development.

As far as getting something on the ballot, groups’ claim the city has denied their right to collect signatures even though they were relying on information posted to the City’s website, which has since been removed.  Save South Boulder and Plan-Boulder have clarified they won’t end their fight to protect the South Boulder Creek floodplain against the CU development and say “all lawful means” will be used to limit the use of the property to flood mitigation and open space-related purposes.