Headlines April 21, 2021
Local Politicians React to George Floyd Verdict
Local leaders reacted to the guilty verdict in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin who was convicted of murdering George Floyd by a Minneapolis jury yesterday.
Members of the Colorado Black Caucus of the state legislature said they were still “shell shocked” as they gathered for a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Representative Leslie Herod, a Democrat from Denver, said they felt the weight of their ancestors, a collective sigh of relief and moment of solidarity in the work they are doing.
The Denver Post reports the caucus members were instrumental in developing and passing policing and criminal justice reforms last year in the wake of Floyd’s death.
In a statement, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said the verdict provided a “glimmer of hope” and a “glimpse of justice.” Polis said that while the verdict does not bring back George Floyd, we should acknowledge the victory and use it as an inflection point to bend the arc of social equality toward lasting justice.
The parking lot around the state Capitol had been cleared by law enforcement by midday yesterday and there was increased police presence, but almost no one was outside the building as the Black Caucus held their gathering.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called the verdict the correct one.
Denver City Councilmember Candi CdeBaca said on Twitter that the country just saved itself from an immediate burndown. She tweeted that the short-term win is the verdict, but stay tuned for the fairness of the sentencing and for meaningful change in policing and public safety adding that the work has just begun.
In Boulder, interim city manager Chris Meschuck and Police Chief Maris Herold issued a joint statement saying that we’re coming together today to recognize the pain associated with the murder of George Floyd, and that the city has been on a multi-year journey of learning about racial equity and the importance of making changes to address systemic policies and practices that marginalize and harm community members of color.
COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available Without Appointments
Starting today, people in Colorado can get COVID vaccines without an appointment at multiple locations throughout the state. Now health experts are working on how to address the hesitancy of some people to get vaccinated.
Gov. Polis said Tuesday that anyone can get a vaccine without an appointment at several sites around the state including: Ball Arena in Denver, the Colorado State Fair Grounds in Pueblo, and the Ranch Events Complex in Loveland.
Polis also said that same-day appointments are available at the other two mass vaccination sites: Dick’s Sporting Goods Arena in Commerce City and the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.
9News reports that, while just over 65% state residents over 60 years old are vaccinated, roughly half of Colorado’s adult population and every resident 16 and younger are still unvaccinated.
Polis was joined by Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist for the who explained that recent data shows vaccinated Coloradans are 93% to 95% less likely to contract COVID.
There have been a little over 800 positive cases reported in the state of those who have been fully vaccinated, but that is a small percentage of the more than 106,000 cases among all people in Colorado who have tested positive.
The University of Denver announced yesterday it will only allow students who have proof of COVID-19 vaccination this fall. DU is the latest institution joining Fort Lewis College in Durango. Other colleges including CU Boulder have said they have no plans to require proof of the vaccine.
Boulder County Public Health reported 67 new COVID-19 cases yesterday but no new deaths.
Boulder Council Urges Passage of Gun Laws
Boulder City Council passed a resolution last night urging passage of state and federal legislation to prevent gun violence.
The resolution comes almost exactly a month after 10 people were killed in a mass shooting at the King Soopers grocery store in south Boulder.
Prior to the shootings, Boulder had adopted an ordinance that banned assault weapons within the city limits. That ordinance was struck down by the courts just days before the Boulder shooting when a judge ruled that state statute preempts local governments from restricting gun sales and possession.
Boulder City Councilman Aaron Brockett read the resolution that urges state and federal leaders to continue efforts to pass legislation to prevent mass shootings. “This includes first and foremost a ban on assault weapons. It also includes a ban on short-barreled firearms equipped with pistol braces; a waiting period for firearm purchases of at least 6 days, the addition of a 10-year prohibition for individual’s conviction of or outstanding warrants for violent misdemeanors or crimes that are linked to an increased risk of gun violence; a repeal of the state preemption of local regulation of firearms; universal background checks on the sale of all firearms; requirements of owners of firearms to keep his or her firearm in a locked container or secured with a locking device; a requirement for owners of firearms to report an unaccounted for firearm; an increase in the minimum age to purchase and possess firearms.”
The City Council also agreed to support an appeal of the March 12th district court ruling that overturned Boulder’s 2018 ordinance banning assault weapons.
Boulder Valley School District Elementary Students Day to Begin at 7:50 a.m.
Most Elementary students in the Boulder Valley School District will be starting their day at 7:50 a.m. next year. During a work session, the board heard a revised plan that was five minutes later than originally proposed.
The Daily Camera reports district staff members presented the equal school day plan after feedback from parents and teachers.
A school board vote isn’t required, and the changes are expected to go in effect in August.
District officials said they considered a variety of changes and scenarios before settling on the current plan. The revisions keep the seven-hour day that will end at 2:50 p.m.
System Failure Leads to Dispensaries Shut Down
A computer system that supports Colorado’s marijuana dispensaries went down yesterday, the biggest pot holiday of the year.
The Denver Post reports that FlowHub said an outage by a third-party service caused the system to crash. It’s unclear how many dispensaries in the state have been affected and a company representative was not immediately available for comment.
4/20, as the informal holiday is called, is the highest-selling day for marijuana at various dispensaries.
FlowHub processes more than $3 billion in sales annually for more than 1,000 dispensaries in Colorado and 13 other states, according to its website.