Aurora police continue to have problems with excessive force and racism – Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado 2021-09-20 11:43:47 –

The city of Aurora has long denied that the police station had problems with racism and police atrocities.

When police chief Vanessa Wilson officially took command in 2020, she challenged reform head-on and stopped wasting precious time trying to hide the bad apples of the army. She is not afraid to dismiss a policeman who behaves badly. It was refreshing.

However, Wilson cannot eradicate racism and stop overly aggressive police officers himself. This action is too well-established in the bureaucracy, which protects officers from accountability and resists meaningful reforms.

An investigation from the Colorado Attorney General’s office confirms exactly what we suspected. Aurora needs help. Reforms are underway, including improved training of officers to avoid the use of force and prevent racial prejudice from directing the response to suspects, but the change is too slow. In the meantime, another innocent person can be injured or killed.

“Our 14-month survey included extensive data analysis and direct observations of the Aurora Police in face-to-face for over 220 hours, along with police officers on patrol and firefighters on duty.” State law. .. “We have collected and examined a dataset of over 3 million records from the Aurora Police internal system. We attend a 9-month force review committee each week and use our power to become a police officer. I reviewed the footage of the camera I wore and observed how the Aurora police evaluated the behavior of police officers … During the course of the investigation, I saw a consistent pattern of illegal activity Aurora police and Aurora Fire according to.”

Consent decree with the Attorney General’s office to add teeth to reform efforts is the right next step for the city. Aurora Mayor Mike Kofman and members of the Aurora City Council need to promptly approve the agreement to adopt the recommendations from the Attorney General.

Some of the reforms are common sense measures that we have proposed in editorials over the years.

Aurora needs a separate office with its own budget and staff to publicly investigate the use of police and fire forces, injustice and detention, and other concerns. increase.

The AG investigation described the Use of Force Review Committee in Aurora. This was aimed at eliminating officer misconduct rather than helping officers do their jobs well and avoid situations that were dangerous to both themselves and the public.The board actually tolerated the actions of officer John Howbert After Howbert reviews a video that chokes a man Responses to police orders were slow, but there were no other threats. Howbert then repeatedly hit the man in his head with his gun, as if the choking wasn’t bad enough. Wilson fired Howbert and he was charged with assault.

The board needs to be replaced and reformed within the new independent monitor office.

The agreement must also invalidate the city’s charter for the dissolution of the Civil Service Commission. The Civil Service Commission oversees the hiring of beginner-level police officers and their ability to invalidate disciplinary decisions of police chiefs, including dismissals.

The Civil Service Commission is part of a cultural issue, and no real reforms will take place until it is gone. The Attorney General said: “A recent analysis of the 2018-2020 police academy found that the commission’s recruitment process had different consequences for color applicants. Of the 2,809 white applicants who met the minimum qualifications. The Commission hired 119 people. 4.24%. In contrast, the Commission has 5 (1.1%) of 454 qualified black applicants and 1,073 qualified Hispanic or Latin. We have approved the recruitment of 32 (3%) of the affiliated applicants and 5 (3.6%) of the 139 qualified Asian applicants.

Wilson deserves praise for starting the path to change, but a consent decree with the Attorney General’s office is the next step in this process to prevent another tragedy in Aurora.

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