Headlines August 23, 2021

Headlines August 23, 2021

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Video of Shooting at Boulder King Soopers to Remain Secret

A video recording of the shooting suspect at the Boulder King Soopers, who allegedly killed 10 in March, will be kept secret and not available to the public a judge has ruled.

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty made the request to the judge to protect the privacy of the victims and assure the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

The Denver Post reports that the eight-minute recording will be played at the upcoming hearing and was created by the district attorney’s office to show the movements of the suspect during the shooting. The defendant is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on September 7.

Some people say keeping the video secret may contradict a new state rule that governs when and how court records can be sealed.

Attorney Steve Zansberg, president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, said that the order, is a “clear violation” of the Colorado Supreme Court’s new rule issued this year that governs when judges can suppress court records from public review. The rule requires that judges explain in writing why public access is being restricted.

Stan Garnett, the former District Attorney told the Post that the secrecy request is pretty unusual, even though the prosecution is trying to manage pre-trial publicity to avoid a biased jury pool. Nevertheless, he said there is a clear First Amendment obligation for all proceedings in a case to be public.

Pandemic Unemployment Benefits to Expire

Close to 90,000 people in Colorado will lose all unemployment benefits in two weeks when federal relief ends, according to state officials.

The Colorado Sun reports that there are two programs concluding: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which benefited gig workers and the self-employed; and, the Pandemic Emergency

Unemployment Compensation program, for those who had exhausted regular claims. In addition, the $300 weekly bonus program to anyone on unemployment will also end.

At a press conference on Friday, the director of the state’s division of unemployment insurance said that federal programs will end effectively on September 4.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden encouraged states with high unemployment rates to use other federal aid to offer benefits, but state officials here did not indicate any plans to extend them even though Colorado’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the country.

After the expiration of the federal programs, only those eligible for regular state unemployment will be able to continue requesting a payment each week.

State Air Quality Commission Votes Not to Require Employers to Plan Fewer Car Commutes

State air quality regulators have formally backed off of a proposal to require large employers to get their workers away from using single-occupancy cars to commute to work.

The Air Quality Control Commission had proposed that companies with more than 100 people come up with programs that promoted carpooling, mass transit and other ways of getting to work. Similar initiatives have been started in dozens of other states and cities.

Colorado Newsline reports that the commission encountered intense opposition to the proposal from conservatives and business groups, including the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Now the commission will promote a voluntary program to reduce the miles driven by residents to their jobs.

The air quality commissioners voted 8 to 1 to abandon requiring employers to come up with car limiting plans. Elise Jones, a former Boulder County commissioner, cast the only vote against curtailing the proposed plan. She said her vote was symbolic to register her frustration and disappointment.

Rally Held in Grand Junction to Support Election Official 

On Saturday nearly 200 people gathered in Grand Junction to support the embattled County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

Peters’s office is being investigated for allegations that an elections system was allowed to be breached. Those inquiries are being conducted by the Colorado Secretary of State, the Mesa County District Attorney, and the FBI.

Jena Griswold the Colorado’s Secretary of State, began investigating the Mesa County clerk’s office after allegations that there was a security breach during an equipment upgrade.

Peters is accused of allowing an unauthorized person into a secure area, who allegedly took photos of passwords of election systems that were later posted on a conspiracy theorist website. Peters is also alleged to have falsely said the person was an employee.

According to Colorado Newsline, Peters was noticeably absent at Saturday’s rally, however, one speaker read a message he said was from her, thanking her supporters and urging them to press on.

Peters has reportedly gone into hiding after speaking at a voter fraud conspiracy event hosted by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Lindell is a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, and claims that the 2020 election was rigged without evidence.

Protest in Loveland over Police Shooting of Disabled Man

In Loveland yesterday, people rallied outside the Municipal Building to demand that the police change how they respond to mental health situations.

The demonstration came after an intellectually disabled man was shot by Loveland officers last week.

The Denver Channel reports that 19-year-old Alexander Domina was injured by police who said he was armed with a knife and having a mental health crisis.

According to an attorney for the family, the young man’s grandmother had called 911 and said he had broken things, but had not hurt anybody and he could be talked down. He became frightened by police and came out with a knife, the attorney said.

A man at the rally yesterday said that they were there to create mental health awareness and to speak about what is needed.

The Loveland Police Department has placed the officer involved in the shooting on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.