November 28, 2022
Judge Says Marshall Fire Lawsuit Against Xcel Energy Can Move Forward
The judge overseeing a Marshall Fire lawsuit has denied a motion by Xcel Energy to dismiss claims the company says are unfounded.
In late March, the owners of Eldorado Liquor sued Xcel Energy, arguing the utility’s equipment, including power lines, caused or contributed to the December 30th firestorm that destroyed over 1000 homes and businesses in east Boulder County.
Boulder County authorities have not yet made an announcement on what caused the fire. Investigators have previously said they are looking into human activity, as well as the possibility of an underground fire at a former coal mine. Some of the first reports about the fire blamed sparks from a power line downed by strong winds.
A spokesperson from Xcel Energy told the Denver Post the utility has not seen evidence that its equipment caused the fire and reiterated the position on Saturday.
Judge Christopher Zenisek, a District Court Judge from Jefferson and Gilpin counties, is overseeing the lawsuit as a result of all Boulder County District Court Judges recusing themselves from the matter.
Boulder County Hosting Open House On Wildfire Mitigation And Emergency Services Ballot Measures
Boulder County officials will host an open house tomorrow, Tuesday, November 29th, to obtain public input concerning the recently passed ballot measures that cover wildfire mitigation and emergency services. The event runs from 4 to 6pm tomorrow night at the downtown Boulder County Courthouse.
The public can provide input on categories ranging from wildfire preparation, strategic forest and grassland management practices, staffing, and funding for wildland firefighting and for search and rescue operations.
The county is also asking residents to fill out an online survey by visiting the 2022 Boulder County Ballot Issues & Measures webpage. The survey ends on December 5th.
Broomfield City Council To Hold First Reading On Proposed Gun Ordinances
Broomfield city council will discuss implementing a new gun control ordinance on Tuesday. The meeting follows two previous executive sessions examining the implications of local gun ordinances that met strong opposition in September.
The proposed rules include banning the possession and sale of rapid-fire trigger activators, requiring serial numbers for gun possession, raising the minimum age for purchasing firearms to 21, and proof of firearms training or shooting experience prior to a sale. Another ordinance would mandate firearm dealers to post signs and provide educational resources.
The decision to take up gun control comes as Boulder, Superior, Louisville, and Boulder County face legal challenges from groups arguing that similar ordinances violate second amendment rights.
Grand Jury Indicts Clear Creek County Sheriff Deputies For Glass Killing
A grand jury released indictments last week against two Clear Creek County sheriff deputies accused of killing 22-year-old Boulder resident Christian Glass. Glass died from gunshot wounds after authorities responded to his 911 call seeking roadside assistance. According to court records, charges against the deputies include second-degree murder, official misconduct, and criminal negligent homicide.
A spokesperson for the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department said the agency terminated the officers following the indictments.
On the evening of June 10th, Glass called 911 after his car became stuck on an embankment. Glass told dispatchers he had knives in the car and was afraid to step out of the car. Glass’ mother said in a September news conference that her son was having a mental health episode and was petrified the night he was killed. Law enforcement personnel who responded to the call said Glass became uncooperative by refusing to leave the vehicle after more than an hour of negotiations. According to the Associated Press, body cam footage shows officers eventually breaking Glass’ car window, shooting him with bean bag rounds and a stun gun after he grabbed a knife and then as an officer approached the rear driver’s window, Glass, in a panicked state, twisted in his seat and thrusted a knife toward an officer. Another officer then shot Glass six times.
The Associated Press says they could not reach the deputies for comment and court records show no legal representation for the officers.
Activists Protest Outside Of Aurora Immigrant Detention Center Over The Death Of An Nicaraguan Asylum Seeker
A group of activists protested outside the immigrant detention center in Aurora last week seeking justice for 39-year-old Melvin Ariel Calero-Mendoza, a Nicaraguan asylum seeker, who died in custody at the privately run facility in October. Authorities have not released information concerning Calero-Mendoza’s cause of death or the circumstances surrounding it. The Aurora Sentinel says an Adams County autopsy report is still pending.
During last week’s protest, activists read a statement by Calero-Mendoza’s family who say they have not received information about his death from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement nor have been contacted by the Nicaraguan consulate to repatriate his body.
The program director for the American Friends Service Committee told the Aurora Sentinel Calero-Mendoza’s death is indicative of the unsafe conditions and inadequate medical treatment at the center.
Within the last decade, immigration and civil rights groups have also alleged that GEO Group, Inc., which operates the Aurora detention center, has committed unfair labor practices by forcing detainees to work at the facility with little or no pay and by also threatening detainees with solitary confinement if they refused to work.
The company is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit concerning the 2017 death of an Iranian immigrant who died at the Aurora facility.