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Black Man Confronted by Police at Gun Point for Picking up Trash in His Own Neighborhood

Mary Scott
Mar 07, 2019
11:03 A.M.
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Officers of the Boulder police department in Colorado drew their weapons on a black man for picking up trash outside his home last Friday. The incident has since sparked outrage among community residents and leaders.

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According to Daily Camera, the African American man was out cleaning when a cop pulled up on him. He was sitting in a partially enclosed patio area behind a “private property” sign, and the officer asked if he was allowed to be there.

Despite telling the cop that he lived and worked in the building and providing his school identification card, the man was still detained for further investigation after which the officer requested backup. He claimed the man was uncooperative and unwilling to put down a blunt object.

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A DISTURBING ENCOUNTER

Cellphone footage filmed by the man’s neighbor from inside the house reveals that there were eventually six officers in all and the “blunt object” was a garbage clamp used to pick up trash.

“There’s a camera on you, officer. Take your hand off your gun,” the person filming can be heard saying off-camera. “He’s picking up trash, and you have your hand on your gun?”

The disturbing clip shows the black man, identified as Zayd, struggling to convince the cop as more arrive and surround him in front of the house, their hands on their guns.

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The caption on the video, posted to Facebook, reads:

“Zayd is picking up garage outside of our home and 8 police officers pull up on him with guns threading to shot him telling him to put down the “weapon” {a bucket & garbage claps [sic]}”

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THE POLICE REACT

Police Chief Greg Testa, in a City Council meeting on Tuesday, told community leaders and residents that they’re taking the incident “very seriously.”

Testa confirmed that an internal affairs investigation has been launched concerning the incident and that the officer who initially confronted the black man is on administrative leave.

"This is an extremely concerning issue, and one that we are taking very seriously," Testa said.

He noted that the man confronted by cops did nothing wrong or unlawful and that one officer drew his gun, although he pointed it at the ground. Preliminary information also showed that the other officers carried a less-lethal shotgun and a shield, Testa stated.

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PUBLIC OUTRAGE

Residents at the council meeting held up garbage clamps in support of the man confronted and clacked them as Testa delivered his statement.

Councilwoman Lisa Morzel also queried what policy guides incidents of officers drawing weapons as well as the number of officers that respond.

Charles Lief, the president of Naropa University, where the accosted man is a student, spoke to council members at the meeting.

“[This incident is] by far the most difficult one for us to address with respect to our relationships in the city of Boulder. I do not want to underestimate the amount of trauma that was experienced by our student, who was the victim in this situation."

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ALARMING TREND

Sadly, many other black men have been subjected to similar treatment from the police. Last November, cops handcuffed an African American man at the mall in front of his kids. A store employee had falsely accused him of shoplifting but later confirmed he had receipts for all his purchases.

The handcuffed man, Ro Lockett, addressed the incident in a heartbreaking video:

“Thank GOD, I remembered ‘the talk’ I was taught as a child, that being Black, I'm presumed guilty until proven innocent in America...something I never understood or felt applied to me until this.”

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Last month, a Delaware police trooper also pulled a gun on an unarmed black man during a traffic stop, sparking outrage on social media.

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