March 20, 2015
BOULDER – City Council officials faced harsh criticism from multiple residents at the city council meeting on Tuesday for the way the Boulder police, and the city, have been conducting what the residents to be racial profiling.
Most of the ten speakers who criticized the conduct of Boulder police were doing so in direct response to a Human Relations Commission meeting the previous day.
The Human Relations Commission meeting was organized to allow Boulder Chief of Police, Greg Testa, an opportunity to address a recent USA Today report that found that in 2011-12, 568.5 per 1,000 arrests in Boulder were black people. This is opposed to the 117.8 per 1,000 of non-black arrests.
“Boulder has been one of the nicest looking places but it has been one of the worst as far as a feeling of comfort and belonging,” Derrick Jones, a resident of Boulder who is black, said in an interview.
Jones was one of ten residents who spoke about the issue of racial discrimination, and said that his appearance during the opening comments of the meeting was to address council directly.
Many of the speakers were disgruntled with Chief Testa’s response, saying that all he did was defend the status quo.
“Chief Testa denied that his department engages in racial profiling and dismissed the findings of the USA Today report,” Cynthia Beard, a resident of Boulder, said during opening comments.
One of the primary discussions following the opening comments was how the council could empower and support the Human Relations Commission to further understand the problem and to “ask the Human Relations Commission to make a recommendation about what it feels is appropriate to study and request that the council add that to its work plan,” City Manager Jan Brautigam said.
When Appelbaum addressed whether the matter would be discussed at a future council meeting he said “I think we’re there but we just need to figure out what information we need and begin the conversation and scheduling.”
Appelbaum also said “The last couple of months have been more that a little crazy but I think they are a little less crazy over the next couple of months so we should be able to schedule it.”
The rest of the council chuckled at this notion.
After Jones raised his criticisms to the council the crowd erupted into applause. After the applause Mayor Matthew Appelbaum said, “I’d appreciate it if don’t applaud,” which lead to a man in the audience to continue clapping.
Appelbaum continued to insist that there be no applause during the meeting and even threatened to kick the man out but the man continued to clap. After a few bouts of this the clapping finally ceased and the meeting was able to proceed.
The man was never kicked out.
The Boulder Police Department declined to comment about the events regarding the city council meeting.