Headlines June 5, 2020

Headlines June 5, 2020

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Four out of seven members of the Denver school board spoke out today in support of a resolution that would remove police officers from the city’s public schools by the end of the year.

Chalkbeat reports that police officers have served in DPS as “school resource officers” since 2004.

A contract between the city and the school district assigns 18 officers to Denver middle and high schools. The city and district split the cost with the school district paying more than $721,000 for SROs this past school year.

The full text of the resolution has not yet been made public but it would direct Susana Cordova, the superintendent of the school district, to end that contract.

The use of police in school disciplinary issues is something that community groups have been speaking out about for a long time.

Padres & Jóvenes Unidos tracks the disciplinary practices of Colorado public schools and they say Black students in DPS are almost 2.5 times more likely to be ticketed or arrested in school as white students. Latinx students are nearly twice as likely to be ticketed or arrested as white students.

The cancellation of school contracts with police departments is gaining traction nationwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

The public school board in Minneapolis voted unanimously on Tuesday to terminate its contract with the city’s police department.

The superintendent of Portland Public Schools announced this week that he was “discontinuing” the presence of school resource officers and would increase spending on counselors and social workers.

The NAACP Boulder County chapter today announced they are calling for the permanent removal of police officers at all BVSD schools. They’ll be speaking on the issue at next Tuesday’s BVSD meeting.

John Hickenlooper this morning testified via video link in front of the Independent Ethics Commission.

The former governor and current Democratic U.S. Senate candidate testified a day after being found in contempt by the commission for a failure to appear on Thursday.

The hearing is to determine if Hickenlooper violated ethics laws while governor by receiving illegal gifts like travel meals and accommodations.

On Thursday Colorado governor Jared Polis announced a new public service campaign “Our Masks are Our Passport to the Colorado We Love.”

The new campaign was launched with updated guidance for different businesses and organizations to reopen in the state.

Churches, synagogues and mosques, along with outdoor swimming pools can reopen to 50% capacity or up to 50 people, whichever is fewer.

Playgrounds at parks can reopen to up to 10 people at a time.

The Boulder Creek Festival which had been rescheduled from Memorial Day weekend to late July has been canceled.

Organizers announced today that the 33rd annual festival would not take place at all this year. The festival is scheduled now for Memorial Day 2021.

According to organizers, the festival attracts over 50,000 people daily with over 300 vendors from across the state. And cannot go ahead due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

The festival has launched the Virtual Marketplace on BoulderCreekfest.com to continue to support small businesses and partners that had already signed up for the event.


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Several hundred people gathered in downtown Denver on Thursday for a memorial service for George Floyd. Congressman Joe Neguse joined Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other elected officials for the service which concluded with a tree being planted in honor of Floyd who died at the hands of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.

Neguse, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District said he wept when he saw the video of George Floyd’s murder.

Neguse serves on the Judiciary Committee and he said that in the coming days and weeks they would enact reforms to make sure this type of violence doesn’t happen again.

On Thursday afternoon, young people led the proceedings and spoke to the crowd about their own experiences of racism before leading marchers peacefully through downtown Denver for the 8th consecutive night.

About 1000 people joined the march in a procession from the Auraria campus. Phil Weiser, the state’s Attorney General participated. He spoke about how his office oversees the training, the certification and removal of police who don’t follow rules.  He said his office was committed to strengthening and using that authority to build a law enforcement that is worthy of our trust.

The police presence last night was much more low key on Thursday. Officers were seen blocking streets for protesters and following alongside on bikes.

Four Denver residents filed a lawsuit against the city on Thursday demanding that Denver police be barred from using tear gas and other non-lethal weapons against people participating in the protests.

The Denver Post reports that the class action suit alleges that the use of tear gas and pepper ball projectiles against crowds was done “without regard to the constitutional rights of protesters and bystanders.” The plaintiffs are asking a Denver District Court judge to impose an injunction, banning the weapons’ use immediately.

Denver police Chief Paul Pazen announced Thursday that he has launched an internal investigation into an incident that was caught on video of police firing pepper balls at a car in downtown Denver on May 29. A video has been widely shared on social media showing the driver standing beside his car and shouting that his pregnant girlfriend was inside. The video was recorded during the second night of the protests.

U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper has been held in contempt by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission after he didn’t appear Thursday at a mandatory hearing. Hickenlooper refused to comply with a subpoena Thursday morning.

Hickenlooper was scheduled to testify via video conferencing before the state’s Independent Ethics Commission about his alleged violations of Colorado’s gift ban.

Hickenlooper is accused of violating the Colorado Constitution’s ban on gifts when he accepted private jet flights from wealthy friends and businesses as governor.

The former governor denies the charges. He has said he didn’t want to appear before the commission on a video conference due to concerns about technical issues marring the hearing and his reputation. Thursday’s hearing was plagued with numerous technical issues but the five-member commission is expected to pick back up with the hearing on this morning.

Governor Jared Polis announced Thursday that Colorado businesses can reopen at reduced capacities and businesses can now refuse service to people not wearing face coverings.

The Denver Post reports that the state’s new guidelines are similar to drafts issued earlier this week with some changes.

Churches, synagogues and mosques, along with outdoor swimming pools can reopen to 50% capacity or up to 50 people, whichever is fewer.
In reopening all indoor sports facilities like gyms, fitness classes, and rec centers the new guidance allows them to operate at up to 25% capacity or 50 people per room — whichever number is fewer. Playgrounds at parks can reopen to up to 10 people at a time.

The governor also discussed the possibility of allowing some visitors to nursing homes, announced $44 million in federal funds will go toward high-need schools and showed support for demonstrations against racism and police brutality but was concerned the protests will lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

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