Advocates call for transparency amid police shootings
Police reform advocates are organizing a statewide task force they say will provide more officer oversight and make recommendations to address law enforcement interactions with the public.
Driving the news: Advocates from Aurora and Denver held a press conference on Monday to call attention to several recent police shootings and announce plans for a task force to bring voices together from across the state.
- Robert Davis, project coordinator for an existing task force in Denver that last year issued 112 recommendations for police, said the new group will help unify work across cities and counties.
- The NAACP and ACLU local chapters are partnering to launch the new task force.
- Davis said the public should expect the group to make recommendations and issue demands for changes to police departments.
Yes, but: Few details were provided about what the task force will do, as the group remains in development.
Between the lines: Activists on Monday also called on Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser's office — the state agency responsible for law enforcement oversight — to make it easier to find information about officers who have been charged with felony crimes.
- A spokesperson for Weiser did not comment on Monday, as the office was closed in observance of Cabrini Day, though they provided an online database with information on officers who were stripped of accreditation (known as POST certification).
- Bailey said it will be up to the group to decide whether to ask agencies like the AG's office to participate in the new task force.
By the numbers: The Denver metro has witnessed multiple police shootings in recent weeks, including three this past weekend.
- Two Aurora police officers on Sunday evening fatally shot an armed man on an RTD bus, interim Aurora police chief Dan Oates said.
- Boulder officers shot and injured a person following a disturbance call in the University Hill area on Sunday morning.
- Aurora police shot and killed a man near Denver International Airport on Saturday. Police said he was armed with a rifle.
- Denver police fatally shot a man in Broomfield on Sept. 29. Officers said the man, who was a person of interest in a homicide investigation, shot at officers.
- Aurora police shot and killed a suspected car thief on Sept. 24. Officers said the suspect threatened them with a gun.
What they're saying: "This does not have to be an adversarial relationship," said Josh Jackson, an NAACP Denver branch member, referring to the police and community members seeking accountability.
- Speaking to the need for transparency, Davis noted that when an officer is injured by someone in the line of duty, that person faces immediate repercussions, while authorities typically provide few details in the immediate aftermath of a so-called "officer-involved shooting."
Of note: Aurora and Denver recently lost their respective police chiefs, part of a larger trend across the metro area.
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