May 31, 2023 - News

"There's no safe place:" How police violence affects Black Coloradans

Protesters face off with police officers on May 28, 2020, in downtown Denver. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Three years have passed since George Floyd's murder sparked protests around the world, including here in Colorado.

Why it matters: Although the streets have cleared and calls for defunding the police have quieted, persistent police violence continues to take a toll on Black people's mental health, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: To mark the third anniversary of Floyd's death, the Times talked to more than 100 Black Americans about how police violence impacts their daily lives.

  • Among those interviewed were two men in Aurora: Taj Ashaheed, a 53-year-old reentry specialist for former prisoners; and Thomas Mayes, a 70-year-old pastor.

What they're saying: "I've learned to detach myself a bit so it's less stressful," Ashaheed told the Times.

  • "It's almost a paranoia, a paranoia that there's no safe place," Mayes said.
  • "I'm saddened more than anything," Mayes added about his experience viewing footage of police brutality. "I don't feel anger would even fit in there. I'm not surprised, but I'm disappointed. It's one of the saddest feelings I ever get. It's hard to fight back the tears."

By the numbers: According to a survey commissioned by the Times, more than half of Black adult respondents grapple with ongoing feelings of fear, sadness and anger about police violence.

  • 44% report having more difficulty completing daily tasks after learning another Black person has been harmed by a member of law enforcement.
  • 38% say they feel more anxious anytime they see an officer.
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