Racial discrimination is a well-documented phenomenon in the U.S. The past year alone has seen black Americans arrested and questioned for everything from sitting in Starbucks to napping in a college dorm room. In the latest incident of racial profiling, Colorado police in Boulder drew their guns on a black man who was picking up trash in his own yard.
In a video posted to Facebook on March 1st by user Vanardo Merchant, an officer can be seen with his gun out as a still-unnamed black man stands outside a house. The man holds a bucket and a trash grabber. More officers arrive on the scene and order the man to drop his “weapon.” The police tell him to sit on the ground, and he refuses.
The man can be heard saying that he has already provided police with his school ID, and also shouts, “I don’t have a weapon” and “This is my property.” Eventually, he puts the bucket and trash grabber down, and the officer holsters his gun. As the situation de-escalates, someone tells the man that he “likely got profiled.” At the end of the video, the police finally let him go.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, the first officer to arrive on the scene has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is being investigated. None of the other officers have been put on leave. The paper also notes that the building in the video is student housing for Naropa University, and the man in the video is a confirmed student at the school.
ABC notes that at a March 5th city council meeting, many angry residents brought trash grabbers as a form of protest. This incident is yet another reminder of how much work we still have to do to eliminate discrimination in this country.