Headlines July 2, 2020

Headlines July 2, 2020

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A police officer, who was under investigation for posing for a photo at the site where Elijah McClain was detained last August, has resigned.

McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, died after police used a now banned chokehold and administered ketamine.

Photos emerged of police officers posing at the site where McClain was detained just two days before thousands turned out to protest his death in Aurora.

The Aurora Sentinel reports that Jaron Jones, who had been with the department since Oct. 2016, tendered his resignation after another police staffer blew the whistle on the still unreleased photos last week.

Other officers are being investigated. The Aurora police department tweeted today that they will continue to update the public with developments.

An internal affairs investigation was initiated then fast tracked after interm police chief Vanessa Wilson found out about the photos last Thursday. The Sentinel reports that the process wrapped up earlier this week, but the timeline regarding when Wilson may impose discipline against any of the remaining officers has not been announced.

This week House Democrats unveiled a plan to address climate change by achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In a press briefing, Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, called climate change an existential threat, and pointed to Colorado’s commitment to transition to wind and solar for electricity as a model for the nation.

“We know that we have a very short runway for action, and the IPCC report makes that very clear; it is getting shorter by the day. And there are far too many in this town who are standing by, and watching, as this crisis worsens by the day,” said Neguse.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that just a decade remains to reverse course on climate pollution in order to avert the worst impacts projected by scientists.

Republicans on the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis promised to review the plan. The plan faces a tough road in the Republican controlled Senate.

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment is offering food pantries and other nonprofit organizations grants of between $5,000 and $50,000 to help them fight hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting today applications are being accepted for the Denver Emergency Food Relief Fund. About $1 million in federal money is available for Denver based nonprofits, food pantries and emergency food providers.

The funds will provide groceries and prepared meals to people impacted by COVID-19 and must be spent before the end the year. Applications will be accepted through July 15.  Nonprofits must be located within the City and County of Denver and serve Denver residents with the grant funds.

Food pantries have seen demand increase by as much as 10 times during the pandemic.

The Denver public health department says it’s focusing on vulnerable populations, including communities of color, people experiencing poverty or homelessness, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ and veterans who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

 

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Marta Loachamin has claimed victory in the Democratic primary for the District 2 Boulder County Commissioner seat after unofficial results Wednesday indicated she led the race by three percentage points.

The other candidate in the race, state Rep. Jonathan Singer, conceded the race in an email Wednesday night. Loachamin, a Longmont Realtor and former teacher, could be the first person of color to be elected to serve on the county commissioner board in Boulder County.

The Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned Governor Polis’ executive order allowing petition signature collection to be done by mail or email during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ruling means that signatures must be collected in the presence of a petition circulator.

Wednesday’s ruling overrides a lower court decision that upheld the order.

The lawsuit challenging the executive order was brought by a coalition including Colorado Concern, a group made up of wealthy business owners, and Dan Ritchie, the former University of Denver chancellor and CEO at Westinghouse.

When signing the executive order in May, Governor Polis said he didn’t want the COVID-19 pandemic to be a barrier to democracy.

The Supreme Court decision now creates extra barriers for several measures who were seeking to get on November’s ballot. This includes an initiative announced last week to increase setback distances from new oil and gas drilling.

In a statement yesterday, Safe & Healthy Colorado, the coalition behind Initiative  174, said the Supreme Court decision “is a setback for the people of Colorado, our right to petition our government, and the democratic process that should ensure safe and equal access to the ballot for all citizens regardless of their means or the external threat of a pandemic.” They added that they were determined to move forward with the issue.

Another federal lawsuit has been filed against the city of Denver over-policing of recent anti-racism protests.

The Denver Post reports that the class action suit filed on Wednesday alleges that police used “constitutionally unlawful crowd control tactics, including kettling, indiscriminate and unwarned launching of tear gas and flashbangs into crowds and at individuals, and shooting projectiles at protesters.”