Headlines May 25, 2021

Headlines May 25, 2021

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More Charges Filed Against Alleged King Soopers Shooter

The man accused in a mass shooting at a King Soopers in March is now facing additional charges after new filings by the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office on Monday. Twenty-one-year old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was initially charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder after deliberation and one count of attempted first-degree murder in the days after the shooting on March 22. More charges were added last month, and 13 additional attempted murder charges were added yesterday, bringing the total counts in the case to 115. The DA’s office said it had determined that additional crimes and sentence enhancers were necessary. The murder counts are all Class 1 felonies that carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Alissa is set for a status conference today, after his attorneys asked for time to assess his mental health before it’s determined if there’s enough evidence to move the case forward. Alissa is in custody at an undisclosed location.

Colorado School Districts May Get New Funding Mechanism

After receiving a green light from the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday, a bill is headed to the governor’s desk that could let school districts raise money without the traditionally required approval of voters. Colorado’s lawmakers had asked the court to rule on the legality of House Bill 1164, which seeks to reverse the effects of erroneous guidance from the Colorado Department of Education about, TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, and the spending cap that prompted districts to lower property taxes to comply with the limits. The court, in its ruling, said that school district voters had previously approved waivers of TABOR but because of the flawed advice the school districts did not implement those waivers. The court added that House Bill 1164 simply invokes what the voters had already approved.

Colorado Lawmakers Want Ketamine Use Limited

A Colorado bill to limit the use of ketamine in law enforcement encounters is under consideration by state lawmakers, almost two years after the death of Elijah McClain, a Black man who was injected with the drug while under arrest in suburban Denver in 2019. The bill was passed on Monday by the state Senate Judiciary Committee.  It would prohibit paramedics’ use of ketamine to “subdue, sedate, or chemically incapacitate” people in police custody if the situation is “absent a justifiable medical emergency.” The 23-year old McClain was stopped by Aurora police officers responding to a 911 call about a suspicious person wearing a ski mask and waving his arms.

Denver Tackles Crime and Police Reform

Regarding crime and police reform, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday announced the creation of the city’s Transformation and Policy Division. Hancock said its part of a three-pronged approach to drive Denver’s recovery out of the pandemic. Last week Denver’s Task Force to Reimagine Policing and Public Safety released its report recommending more than 100 different ways in which the city’s police department can improve its practices.

Advocates Raise Awareness of Wyoming Wildlife-Killing Contests

Drivers traveling from Cody to Yellowstone National Park will see a large billboard featuring a wolf and a call to action to end a largely underground practice known as wildlife-killing contests. Michelle Lute with the group Project Coyote says most people are not aware of the bloodsport events, where participants compete to kill the most, largest or smallest animals for cash, belt buckles or other prizes. She says the practice does not align with widely accepted hunting ethics or values around how wildlife should be treated. Defenders of the practice claim killing predators will help protect pets, livestock and big game. Fifty organizations across the nation have launched campaigns to end the contests, and so far seven states, including Colorado, have banned the practice.