NewsLocal News


Colorado community forum allows people to ask questions, vent about trauma at the hands of police

Discussing trauma at hands of police
Posted at 1:31 AM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 09:15:24-04

AURORA, Colo. — Police chiefs, lawmakers, and the Colorado attorney general were invited to a meeting in Aurora Sunday night where community members asked what's being done to ensure their lives matter.

The forum at Restoration Christian Fellowship was called "Our Trauma Deserves a Voice and Safe Space."

In the wake of several fatal police shootings involving people of color in other states, organizers wanted to provide space for the community to process, vent, release and be supported, while hearing from public officials and holding them accountable.

"My grandmother deserves an opportunity to come to Bible study," said Maisha Fields, who lost a brother to gun violence. "I deserve an opportunity to go there as well and not be in fear."

Fields told Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen that too many cold cases go unsolved.

"When a mother calls and says my baby was killed, how quickly do you respond?" she asked him.

Pazen noted that some cases are much more difficult to solve.

"It's how do we do this together," he said. "The only path forward is by all of us working together."

Forum participant Jason McBride asked about the review process that police go through when accused of wrongdoing.

"In our community, we don't have that," McBride said. "Our kids go to jail, period."

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said, "We must find ways to be better."

He said his office is addressing concerns about police accountability. He said the culture he wants to see is officers saving lives.

You do that by hiring the right people, increasing training and accountability, and decertifying some officers, he added.

"If police officers aren't truthful,if they lie, they can be decertified, and not able to serve the profession that depends on just integrity," he said.

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson is on board with the law that allows decertification of some officers.

"I don't want that officer to just be able to walk out the back door here and go in the front door of another agency, so I am very very happy with this decertification piece that's been put in place," she said.

Fields is encouraging police chiefs, city council members and state lawmakers to continue to speak up, and to use their positions to continue bringing about meaningful reform.