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Activists call for citizen review board after Boulder officers detain black man

Posted: 10:19 PM, Mar 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-19 20:08:39Z
boulder police detain man

BOULDER, Colo. — The Boulder City Council announced it's launching an independent investigation into a police incident involving a black student.

Zayd Atkinson was picking up trash in his yard on March 1 and was detained by police. He was eventually let go.

READ MORE: Internal affairs investigation launched after Boulder officer detains man cleaning outside his home

The Boulder Police Department is conducting an internal affairs investigation.

“While the Boulder government is trying to create an appearance of racial sensitivity, this stance is for an appearance only,” Atkinson said. “I had guns pointed at me because of the color of my skin. This is unacceptable treatment of anyone.”

Atkinson said the Boulder Police Department cannot police itself.

“I have asked for an independent review of what happened to me by a Boulder outsider," he said. "Instead, Boulder has picked a 9-year district attorney to do a secondary investigation. I have been ignored and my power (was) taken away again.”

Though former Boulder DA Stan Garnett was initially chosen Monday evening to oversee the independent review and internal investigation, City Manager Jane Brautigam has instead asked City Attorney Tom Carr to work with attorneys for Atkinson "about alternative options for an independent reviewer," the city said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds of residents showed up to a community meeting in the Boulder City Council Chambers Monday night.

Many of the people who work for the city are also calling for action, not words.

“It’s time for a 100-percent citizen review board. We have to protect the objectivity of community members on it,” said Amy Zuckerman, formally on the Boulder Human Relations Commission.

“I ask the council to stop the talking. To stop asking people of color to tell you our stories and our trauma, and for the community to stop rationalizing away what we tell you and take action” said Nakhil Mankekar, current chair of the Human Relations Commission.

The Boulder City Council said this would be the first of many meetings about the incident.

READ MORE: Boulder DA gets bias training grant after officers confront black student outside his home