55ºF

Video of Colorado police confronting black student picking up trash at home prompts investigation

Several officers confronted a black man picking up trash outside his home in Boulder, Colorado last week. The incident was captured on video. (YouTube / Vanardo Merchant)
Several officers confronted a black man picking up trash outside his home in Boulder, Colorado last week. The incident was captured on video. (YouTube / Vanardo Merchant)

BOULDER, Colo. – Police in Boulder, Colorado have launched an internal affairs investigation after video spread online showing several officers confronting a black student picking up trash outside his home last week.

The video shows a black man, whose identity has not been released, picking up trash in front of his home when he is confronted by an officer holding a gun.

"You are on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me beacuse I am picking up trash," the man tells the officer. "I don't have a weapon. This is a bucket. This is a clamp.”

"Go home. This is ridiculous. What am I watching?" shouts the man recording from inside the home.

The officer tells the man several times to drop his "weapon." The man is seen holding only a bucket and a grabbing tool, commonly used to pick up trash.

Several more patrol vehicles pull up with sirens blaring, and the man is eventually surrounded by eight officers.

The man maintains that he is a resident at the property and that he goes to school nearby. The officers are heard ordering the man to sit down, but he refuses.

"You came onto my property with your weapons drawn, threatening me at the place that I f**king sleep," the man says. "Are you going to shoot me? Or you're going to tase me and arrest me and beat the s**t out of me?"

The man is heard telling the officers several times to get off his property.

The confrontation continued for over ten more minutes before the officers determined the man had a right to be on the property and left.

Watch the full video below. [WARNING: Language]

The initial responding officer, whose name has not been released, has been placed on paid adminstrative leave, according to Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa. None of the other responding officers, including one supervisor, have been placed on leave, a department spokeswoman said.

According to a statement obtained by the Daily Camera, the incident began about 8:30 a.m. Friday when an officer observed a man sitting in a partially enclosed patio area behind a "private property" sign at the home. 

The officer asked the man if he was allowed to be there. The man told the officer he lived and worked in the building, and gave the officer his school identification card, but the officer detained the man to investigate further, the release said.

The officer then requested for assistance, saying the man was uncooperative and unwilling to put down a blunt object, according to police.

The building where the confrontation took place is student housing for Naropa University. The school confirmed that the man in the video is a student there.

"This is an extremely concerning issue, and one that we are taking very seriously," Testa said during a news conference Tuesday night.

According to the police department, the investigation is expected to take 60 to 90 days. Once the investigation is complete, supervisors along with a review panel will make recommendations to the police chief who will make a final decision.


About the Author: