Boulder PD completes internal investigation of confrontation with black student; report expected in 3-4 weeks

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Photo by Roman Koester on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Two reports on the March 1 confrontation between armed officers and a black Naropa student will likely be made public this month, City Attorney Tom Carr said during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

An internal investigation has been completed by the police department and is under review by chief Greg Testa, who will make his report to council within 3-4 weeks, according to Carr. An independent review should be ready around the same time.

Boulder tapped former U.S. attorney Bob Troyer to lead the outside investigation. Troyer was recommended by attorneys for Zayd Atkinson, the student who was detained by officers while picking up trash outside his apartment.

The independent report will be made public, along with the body cam footage, Carr said. For the internal review, Testa will “summarize” for council “his views of what happened and his decision.”

At the same time, the city is moving forward with a citizen task force to study possible civilian oversight of the police department. Two members of city council, Aaron Brockett and Mary Young, will select the 11-13 task force members in collaboration with the Boulder NAACP.

A representative from the police union will sit on the board and have a vote in final recommendations. The NAACP and community had requested the police member be non-voting, but council felt that, as part of the problem, cops should part of the solution as well.

Consensus will not be needed to advance recommendations; a 2/3 majority will decide. In the event of non-consensus, council said they want to hear all opinions.

The group is also narrowing in on a facilitator: Dr. Carolyn Love is “interested” in working with the Boulder, City Manager Jane Brautigam said Tuesday.

Applications will open next week for the task force and close April 29. Council will review the recommendations of the selection committee and make a final decision May 7.  Members will not be paid a stipend, as was suggested by community members, but the city will pay for costs associated with participation, upon request.

The task force will make their recommendations to council by Sept. 30. Among the group’s suggestions for civilian oversight will be:

  • Number and qualifications of members of the oversight board;
  • Manner of appointment of the board members;
  • Responsibilities of the oversight board;
  • A description of the investigative powers and decision-making authority of the oversight board;
  • How it will be staffed;
  • Projected costs and staffing of the oversight board.

Carr has already indicated that formation of the board might be subject to approval by the police union, depending upon its scope and makeup.

To view a Twitter thread that includes city council discussion of this item, visit threadreaderapp.com/thread/1113227350504747008.html.

— Shay Castle, boulderbeatnews@gmail.com, @shayshinecastle

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