Profiled At Home: Colorado Officer Harasses Black Homeowner
|thenorthstar||Mar 11, 2019|
White officers in Boulder, Colo. are now under investigation after a viral video shows them pulling guns on a Black man who said he was picking up trash with a clamp on his property. One of the officers is on administrative leave.
The footage posted on YouTube shows the man screaming at the Boulder officer. “You're on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me because I'm picking up trash,” he said. The encounter started when a police officer saw a man sitting behind a “private property” sign on Friday, and asked the man if he was allowed to be there, according to The Denver Post.
The unidentified man told the officer he lived and worked there, and showed his school ID card. The officer, however, detained the person to conduct a further investigation, the local newspaper wrote. The officer asked for more assistance, alleging that the man was not willing to “put down a blunt object.”
“This is my property. I live here,” the man screamed. Law enforcement found that the object he was holding was a clamp to pick up trash, and they left the area. "Officers ultimately determined that the man had a legal right to be on the property and returned the man's school identification card. All officers left the scene, and no further action was taken," ABC News reported, citing a statement from the police department. The encounter between the man and police officers angered some residents of the college town, who expressed their grievances at the Boulder City Council Meeting Tuesday evening. Some of them brought in signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Doing Yard Work While Black.”
Boulder Police Department Chief Greg Testa told the officers about the incident and his decision to put the officer on leave. “This is an extremely concerning issue and one we are taking very seriously,” Testa told the City Council, according to The New York Times.
The city’s police department has had incidents of racial profiling. In 2016, a man named Nalimaakono Lomujalamoi was playing darts at an establishment when Sergeant Brannon Winn, who was looking for a suspect who groped an employee the day before, asked him to step out of the bar. A report from Daily Camera indicated that Winn told Lomujalamoi that he was “looking for a Black guy in a gray shirt,” telling him that he was free to go. “This is like racial profiling,” Lomujalamoi said, according to the publication.
A 2016 study from Consulting firm Hillard Heintze found that “Black people are twice as likely as white people to be cited or arrested on a misdemeanor charge.” Less than 2 percent of Boulder’s population is Black, whereas 81 percent of the population is white. Citing analysis from USA Today, the Daily Camera reported that Boulder had the second-highest disparity in the arrests of Blacks and non-Blacks in Colorado between 2011 and 2012. According to the report, African Americans were nearly five times more likely to be arrested than members of other races.
About the Author
Robert Valencia is the breaking news editor for The North Star. His work as editor and reporter appeared on Newsweek, World Politics Review, Mic.com, Public Radio International and The Miami Herald, among other outlets. He’s a frequent commentator on foreign affairs and U.S. politics on Al Jazeera English, CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, Voice of America, C-SPAN, Sirius XM and other media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean.