Community members of Boulder City in Colorado were outraged after a viral video showed a group of officers with guns cornering a Black who was picking up trash in front of his house.
The incident occurred on Friday morning when a Boulder police officer asked the man, who was sitting in a partially enclosed patio area, if he was allowed to be there. Although the man said he lived and worked in the building and even provided his school identification card, the officer detained the man before radioing for additional assistance, reported the Daily Camera.
The first officer told the other responding officers that the man was uncooperative and unwilling to put down a blunt object. After a disturbing confrontation wherein someone officers pulled their guns out of their holsters, they eventually realized the man was holding a small pick used to collect trash.
"This is an extremely concerning issue, and one that we are taking very seriously," Police Chief Greg Testa said at the Boulder City Council meeting Tuesday.
According to Testa, an internal affairs investigation was opened, and the initial responding officer is on administrative leave.
Testa said the man picking up trash did nothing wrong or unlawful. He also confirmed that one officer drew his gun.
During Tuesday’s meeting, council members angrily questioned Testa about what information would be made public about the incident.
Councilwoman Lisa Morzel asked what policy dictates officers drawing weapons and what policy requires that many officers respond to the scene.
"I can only assert that given the information that was there, that was why the number of officers arrived," Testa said. "I don't want to make an assumption because an investigation is ongoing."
Video of the incident was posted by the man’s neighbor. In the clip, the witness can be heard telling police, “He’s picking up trash and you have your hand on your gun. Go home!”
After the incident, one man told the council members they need to have an in-depth conversation about race relations in their community.
"This is terrifying," Sammie Lawrence, who is Black, told the council. "This is very scary. ... I really hope you take this seriously, because I deserve peace of mind as part of this community."