A Boulder, Colorado, police officer was put on paid administrative leave Tuesday after a video showing him confronting a black man picking up trash went viral, causing outrage.
The cell phone video, recorded by a neighbor on March 1, showed several officers confronting a black man picking up trash on his own property. One of them also had a gun drawn. In the 16-minute video, the man could be seen telling the officer, “You’re on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me because I’m picking up trash.”
In a statement, police officials said, “A Boulder Police Officer observed a man sitting in a partially enclosed patio area directly behind a ‘Private Property’ sign and initiated contact with the man to determine if he was allowed to be on the property.”
The unidentified man informed the officer that he lived there and also showed his identification card. The officer, however, detained him for further questioning. The man grew angry and the officer requested other officers to reach the spot saying the man was uncooperative. The man was holding a tool to pick up trash, however in the video, the officer could be seen referring to the object as a weapon.
The officers reached the scene within a few minutes, with one of them holding a gun. Another officer asked the man to relax after he yelled it was his property and that he lived there. The man eventually put down the tool and the officer who first confronted the man holstered his weapon.
“Officers ultimately determined that the man had a legal right to be on the property and returned the man’s school identification card. All officers left the scene and no further action was taken,” the statement read, ABC News reported.
The video went viral prompting an angry crowd to attend the Boulder city council meeting Tuesday.
“This is an extremely concerning issue, and one that we are taking very seriously,” Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa told the city council, announcing that the officer was put on leave, the Denver Post reported. No action was taken on the other officers who were called to the scene.
Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Aulabaugh said Wednesday the officer’s name would not be released till investigation was over, which was expected to take 60 to 90 days.
“Our internal affairs investigation will include a review of all body worn camera video, interviews of everyone involved which includes both officers and community members, reports and all other related information,” Aulabaugh said.
“Once the investigation is complete, it is reviewed by the officer’s immediate supervisor, commander, deputy chief and the professional standards review panel (which consists of six community members and six department members from all areas within the department). The supervisors and review panel make recommendations to the police chief who will make a final decision,” she added, the Daily Camera reported.