Headlines April 19, 2021
Protests in Denver Over Police Brutality
Hundreds of people protested in Denver on Saturday against police brutality, as the trial of a police officer charged with killing George Floyd in Minnesota is expected to be in the hands of the jury today. At the Colorado state capitol, a first rally was held in response to the death of Daunte Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis. The event was organized by 17-year-old Ashira Campbell. People placed makeshift gravestones over the snow-covered lawn in front of the capitol building.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation, organized a second rally and marched their group west on Colfax, to the downtown jail, courthouse and police headquarters.
Lillian House, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said the nature of Derek Chauvin’s trial in Minneapolis has already validated protesters’ efforts over the last year. She said the fact that Chauvin is on trial for the killing of George Floyd is due to the mass uprisings all over the country. She also said she expects a not guilty verdict would result in chaos, while a conviction would still just scratch the surface of her movement.
The Denverite reports that both protests were peaceful.
Boulder County Moves to Level Blue Coronavirus Restrictions
On Friday Boulder County moved to a lower level of coronavirus restrictions. Larger capacities for bars, restaurants, gyms and events will be allowed. Lexi Nolen, Executive Director of the county health department said in a statement that the shift to a lower level on the coronavirus dial does not mean full reopening. The county has adopted a slightly modified version of the state’s framework to ease into recovery and give individuals and businesses guidance.
The new Level Blue allows for indoor seated events and all outdoor events to occur with 6 feet of distancing between people from different households. Indoor events that are not seated can occur at half capacity with a maximum of 175 people. Restaurants and gyms can operate fully with 6 feet of distance between parties, and bars can open at 25% capacity. Masks are still required in indoor public spaces.
On Friday the county health department announced a death from COVID-19, the first death in more than a month.
On Sunday there were 33 new COVID-19 cases in the county, but no new deaths. CU Boulder reported 13 positive tests on Friday.
Statewide, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the moving average of positivity tests decreased to 5.7 percent.
Judge Will Resign and Is Censured for Racial Statements
A judge in Colorado’s largest judicial district will resign after using a racial slur, and voicing opinions about racial justice from the bench. On Friday The Colorado Supreme Court censured Judge Natalie Chase who serves in the 18th Judicial District which includes Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
Early last year Chase, who is white, asked a Black court employee why Black people can use the N-word and white people cannot. Chase used the full N-word several times. At the time, the employee was stuck in a car with the judge and felt angry, hurt and uncomfortable.
After Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, while she was in court, Judge Chase asked a Black employee about the Black Lives Matter movement and said she believed “all lives matter.”
In another incident, in February 2020, while on the bench, Chase told Black court employees that she would boycott the Super Bowl because she objected to the NFL players who were kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality against Black people.
In its order, the Supreme Court said that Chase failed to maintain the high standards of judicial conduct required of a judge. Chase agreed to resign next month and did not dispute the facts of the incidents outlined in the court’s order.
Republican Lawmaker Under Fire for Joking about Lynching
A Republican lawmaker in Colorado is being condemned for joking about lynching and saying an 18th century policy designating a slave as three-fifths of a person did not impugn anybody’s humanity. State Rep. Ron Hanks, who is white, was speaking on the House floor Thursday about legislation aimed at strengthening civics education. After he was accidentally introduced as fellow Rep. Mike Lynch, Hanks said that being called “Mr. Lynch” might be a good thing for what he was about to say. Adding that he was kidding.
Halisi Vinson, executive director of the Colorado Democratic Party, said in a statement that Hanks’ comments were a way to “whitesplain the historical experience of Black people.” Vinson added that the fact that Representative Hanks thought it would be appropriate to make a ‘joke’ about lynching especially at this time is utterly despicable.
Hanks represents part of Fremont County and all of Custer, Chaffee, and Park counties in central Colorado. The Denver Post reports that Hanks came under scrutiny from other members of the Legislature for marching from then-President Donald Trump’s rally in Washington, D.C., to the U.S. Capitol before rioters stormed the building on Jan. 6.
CU Boulder Student Government Censures Kennedy
The student government at CU Boulder voted last week to censure university system President Mark Kennedy. The censure cites Kennedy’s failed leadership with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Daily Camera reports the censure comes two weeks before the campus faculty assembly is set to vote on a similar motion.
The student legislative council noted that Kennedy had made “racist or problematic” remarks, was insensitive and disrespectful to the Indigenous community, and did not demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community on campus.
Ken McConnelogue, CU System spokesperson said Kennedy supports the right of campus groups to make their voices heard, and that Kennedy also believes the CU community is making progress on diversity, equity and inclusion but there’s still work to do.