Boulder pays out another $1M-plus settlement for police action

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

Friday, July 15, 2022

Boulder will pay yet another million-dollar-plus settlement over past police conduct, the second within a month and fourth since 2020.

The most recent payment will go to Cole Stewart, who was arrested by Boulder Police in 2014 after running from cab after a dispute with the driver. Stewart ran home; police pursued and ultimately fired 10 shots, striking Stewart twice. Medical care was delayed two hours while officers dealt with a shrapnel wound.

Police testified that Stewart pointed a gun at them. Stewart’s conviction was ultimately tossed by an appeals court, which noted multiple errors in the case. Responding officers were cleared by the district attorney.

Stewart sued in 2019, resulting in a $1.3 million settlement reached through mediation. Council must OK payments of more than $10,000 per Boulder’s charter, and the agreement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

Less than a month ago, the city agreed to pay $2 million to the family of Seth Franco, who was arrested in 2017 after his parole officer requested a welfare check. Franco later died by suicide in a Boulder halfway house. Two Black men confronted by Boulder cops also received a combined $220,000 for two incidents in 2019.

The payment to Stewart will be paid from the city’s property and casualty fund, and is “within … anticipated loss planning parameters,” according to staff.

Boulder PD reformed its policies for firearm use beginning in 2020. A citizen-staffed Police Oversight Panel was staffed in early 2021. Next week, council will (likely) authorize adding two members and an alternate due to high turnover and workload. Three panelists have resigned so far, and one alternate declined to fill a vacancy.

Boulder’s 5G worries a thing of the past
Changes to a once-controversial lease to a telecommunications company flew under the radar this week as Verizon seeks to improve 5G coverage in Boulder.

The company has been leasing space for its equipment at South Boulder Rec Center since 2019, paying $30,000 a year for the privilege. A lease was initially approved in 2019 amid concerns over potential health risks of 5G. Community concerns prompted council to schedule a study session, titled “Understanding 5G.”

An approved agreement — which two then-councilwomen voted against — stipulated that Verizon would not use the equipment to provide a 5G signal. Technically, that promise was kept. The company is adding new antennae that “will primarily deploy 5G technology.”

Existing equipment will also send and receive 5G signals, according to staff notes, prompting Verizon to seek permission.

Lease amendments were approved unanimously, without discussion on Thursday’s consent agenda.

Transportation Thursday
Next Thursday’s meeting will be heavy on transportation topics as Boulder County addresses its plans for renewing a transportation tax, RTD representative Lynn Guissinger swings by for an annual update and staff goes over work on the Core Arterial Network and the vision for an upgraded downtown Boulder bus station.

— Shay Castle, @shayshinecastle

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2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Good work. The details are what matters, and the Cole Stewart story needs even more detail. Talk to Cole about it and tell us what he says. Then on your list add – Follow the money of Boulder Climate Inaction.

  2. Hey Shay this is Michele Rodriguez. My lawsuit against Boulder Police involved officer suggestedchemical sedation. The City of Boulder refuses to take responsibility. Please see Rodriguez vs. Lolotai. And all things Waylon Lolotai online. My incident in Boulder on August 25/26 right downtown. I need justice. Please ask the City of Boulder the tough questions. Thank you for your work.. your words needs heard. I appreciate you.

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