BOULDER, CO (Gray News) - A black man picking trash in front of his home had a gun drawn on him a Boulder police officer, even after he explained that he lived there.
Internal Affairs is investigating the incident and the officer has been placed on leave.
Video of the March 1 encounter was later posted on YouTube. The officer appears to have his hand on his hip, near where his weapon was holstered.
“You’re on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me because I’m picking up trash,” the unidentified man could be heard yelling to the officer.
Police later issued a press release detailing their version of the events. In it, they said the officer saw the man sitting at a house with a private property sign out front.
He asked the man if he had a right to be there, and the man explained to him that he lived there. The man even provided his school ID.
The officer detained him to investigate further and called for backup, citing the man’s unwillingness to put down the “blunt object" he was holding.
“The object the man was holding was used to pick up trash,” the statement read. The man and the witness who recorded the ordeal had shouted that several times.
“You have a gun in your hand," the man yelled.
“Yes, I do, because you’re not listening,” the officer responded. “You have a weapon. Drop the weapon.”
Even so, several more officers responded. The visibly irate man finally dropped the bucket and trash grabber he was holding and asked officers to get off his property.
Trying to diffuse the situation, another officer admitted the man had probably been racially profiled.
“Hey, you’re angry and escalated and it’s likely you got profiled, OK,” he said. “So, we’ll pick it up at a different time. Not right here, right now.”
Once police accepted the man had a right to be on the property, they returned his ID and left.
Word began to spread about the incident, and supporters stormed March 5’s city council meeting demanding answers.
“This is a very concerning issue, and one we’re taking very seriously,” Police Chief Greg Testa told the crowd, according to CNN. “All aspects of this incident, specifically the actions of the initial officer, are being investigated.”
Testa disputed claims that multiple officers had guns drawn, but conceded that at least one did.
“In contrast to what was stated in the video that is on social media, body worn camera video indicates that only one officer had a handgun out, and it was pointed at the ground,” he explained. “I’m not making excuses. I’m just trying to provide some needed context in terms of that specific aspect.”
The department said the internal affairs investigation should take between 60 and 90 days to complete.