Hundreds attend meeting on Denver Police Department's new use-of-force policy

Harsh words for Chief White's handling of policy
Posted at 10:28 PM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 00:28:33-05

DENVER -- Hundreds of people attended an event Tuesday night to show their disapproval with how the Denver Police Department announced a new use-of-force policy.

It is an issue that has divided Denver, with high-profile cases of use of force involving officers.

While some in the community are demanding changes, they aren't convinced that leaders have gone about it the right way, and they had hard words for the DPD Chief Robert White.

"We are appalled. We are deeply disappointed," said one speaker to Chief White, who announced the proposed changes earlier this month.

Under the draft policy, officers would be directed to avoid "standing their ground" in volatile situations, instead "slowing down" and de-escalating the situation.

But the changes came without community input, leaving many feeling excluded from an issue that directly affects them.

"We don't know what went into it. We don't know what it's replacing. We don't know who was advising on it," said Lisa Calderon, the Co-Chair for the Colorado Latino Forum. "Victims of excessive force were not consulted about it, so we don’t know if it actually responds to their concerns."

The community aired its grievances on that issue and others, including overcrowded jails, at an event at the Shorter Community AME Church.

"The community is no longer waiting to be invited to the table, we're hear tonight to build the table. And we want to gather around it and get some stuff done," said Timothy Tyler, the church's pastor.

At the end of the meeting Chief White stated his commitment to reform and community engagement, pointing out that he had added three community meetings to address the changes and get input.

White stopped short of saying he would have a Citizens' Advisory Board on the topic when asked to commit to one.

"People want reform and they're going to get reform," said White. "This is a draft policy. We want to hear what people think about it. And we want to hear from everyone -- not just a few people."

Here is the information for the community meetings:

  • 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Jan. 24, Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver, 3333 Holly Street.
  • 9 a.m. to noon, Jan. 28, Elevate Denver Church, 2205 W. 30th Ave.
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Feb. 4, Red Shield Community Center, 2915 N. High St.


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