Headlines September 18, 2020
Protest Leaders Arrested and Facing Felony Charges
Six of the people protesting the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of Aurora police in 2019 now face years in prison after two prosecutors filed multiple charges against them on Thursday.
The Denver Post reports that all of the protesters — Lillian House, Joel Northam, Terrance Roberts, Whitney Lucero, Trey Quinn and John Ruch — are facing felonies connected to demonstrations held in Aurora on June 27, July 3, July 12 and July 25.
Among the charges are inciting a riot, engaging in a riot, obstructing a highway or passageway, and attempted first-degree kidnapping.
Combined, the six protesters face 33 felony counts and 34 misdemeanor charges. Each faces years in prison if convicted.
House, Northam and Roberts have been the leaders of protests in Denver and Aurora over the summer. House and Northam were organizers for the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation scheduled a march for noon Saturday at the Colorado State Capitol to protest the arrests.
Aurora police have themselves been criticized for their handling of the protests this summer. Their use of tear gas prompted the city’s public safety committee to propose a ban on the use of pepper spray and tear gas. The committee is still working on that proposal before sending it to city council for a vote.
Officer Suspended for One Week for Pointing Gun at Doctor’s Head
An Aurora police officer has been suspended without pay for one week for pointing a gun at a doctor’s head while questioning, him while the doctor was parked outside a building that he owns.
The Sentinel reports that on March 1, Dr. P.J. Parmar was questioned by officer Justin Henderson outside of of Mango House, a Colfax resource center for local refugees.
In a post on Medium.com describing the incident, Dr. Parmar wrote that the approached him, pointed his gun point blank at his head, and repeatedly demanded for him to prove that it was his property. Dr. Parmar whose parents immigrated from India, continued in the post “as if a dark skin person doesn’t own commercial buildings in the ‘hood, or tend to them on Sunday evening.”
Dr. Parmar told the Sentinel that the week suspension is not adequate. “The police pretty much have free rein to do whatever they want,” he said.
Parmar’s attorney, David Lane, has indicated he plans to file a federal lawsuit against the city. The suit has yet to be formally filed.
Colorado Considering Changing Names of Areas Because of Racist Connotations
The committee tasked with considering changing the names of some geographic locations in the state says they have already received 16 requests to change the names of mountains and open areas in the state. In a statement on Thursday the committee said many of the requests are because of the current names’ derogatory connotations toward Native Americans or Black people.
The Colorado Geographic Advisory Naming Board said in a statement yesterday that some of the proposals they’ve received include changing the name of Mount Evans in Clear Creek County and replacing it with Mount Cheyenne Arapaho. John Evans served as second governor of Colorado Territory and there is a movement to rename several locations named for him because of his role in the massacre of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians at Sand Creek.
New Free Coronavirus Testing Sites in Boulder
A new coronavirus testing site has opened in Boulder in response to a rise in cases. An appointment is not required and testing is free. People are asked to bring a form of identification to ensure that test results can be accurately recorded.
Residents do not need to have COVID symptoms to be tested. Boulder County Public health says the wait time for testing at the walk-up site has averaged about 30 minutes.
The walk-up site is in the Pleasant Street parking lot at 1205 Pleasant st., and the drive-thru test site is at the Stazio softball fields.
Hours for both sites are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., 7 days per week.
Test results can be expected within 24-48 hours. Residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by Boulder County Public Health epidemiology staff for follow-up.