Denver Council Condemns 'Racist,' 'Reckless' Impound Initiative

Supporters Say It's What Voters Thought They Were Getting Last Year

When an officer stopped Phil Kaspar last month, a computer glitch showed his license was suspended.

"I've never in my lifetime had my license suspended," said Kaspar. "They asked me to step out of my vehicle and promptly impounded my vehicle."

Kaspar said he was left to walk home in the middle of the night. Later, he was able to produce documentation and proof to clear up the confusion, but was without wheels for four days in the interim.

"I just don't want anyone else to go through this," he said. "They waived the $2,500 impound fee ... but I have two court appearances to try to get the rest of my money back from towing fees ... It's been a lot of work."

Stories such as his prompted the Denver City Council to issue a proclamation against Initiative 300, which would make Denver's impound laws even more restrictive.

The citizen-backed initiative would force officers to tow the car of any unlicensed driver.

The idea is going back to a vote of the people because last year's initiative had a loophole that allowed officers to continue using some discretion before towing cars.

Council members called the new initiative racist, reckless, unconstitutional and "a $1.6 million stupidity" because that is the estimated additional costs for Denver police.

Among other things, the initiative requires officers to impound the car of anyone "reasonably suspected" of being an "illegal alien."

"This targets all of us. It affects all of us. We've seen people of all backgrounds have these horrible stories," said Councilman Paul Lopez. "It violates our constitution. This is something that sets us up for lawsuits."

But the initiative's sole supporter, Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz, said I-300 is what voters thought they were getting last year: a mandate for officers to tow the cars of any unlicensed driver.

"I am certainly willing to give any measure possible a chance of getting unlicensed drivers off the road," said Faatz.

The council's proclamation is symbolic. The voters will decide this issue. The new impound initiative will be on the mail-in November ballot.

To see the council's proclamation explaining its opposition to the initiative go to Denvergov.com.

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