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Video of 8 cops confronting black man picking up trash on own property goes viral, sparks investigation

Denver Police Department officers confront a man picking up trash on his property. (Vanardo Merchant/Facebook)
March 07, 2019

Boulder Police in Colorado are under fire after a video surfaced of armed officers approaching a black man while he was picking up trash on his private property.

The video footage, captured Friday, shows at least one officer who already took his gun out and approached the man, then demanded he drop his “weapon” – which was a clamp he was using to collect trash from the ground.

The full encounter lasted more than 15 minutes. Watch it below:

“You’re on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me, because I’m picking up trash,” the resident says in the video. “I don’t have a weapon. This is a bucket. This is a clamp.”

The officer repeated orders for the man to drop the “weapon” in his hand, insisting he wanted to talk with the man.

“He’s got a gun!” the resident yelled repeatedly about the officer, as more officers responded to the scene. The original officer told the man to “calm down.”

The man was visibly shocked at the officer’s response.

“What do you mean? This is my property. This is my house. I live here,” he said.

After the exchange lasted more than 15 minutes, officers ultimately gave up their efforts and left the property.

A statement from the Boulder Police Department said an investigation has been launched into the incident, which they say began when an officer discovered the man in a patio area on a property with a “Private Property” sign.

They say he then confronted the man and detained him while investigating whether or not he was authorized to access to the property.

“The officer detained the man to investigate further and made a request over the radio for additional assistance to respond indicating that the person was uncooperative and unwilling to put down a blunt object. Several officers responded including a supervisor. The object the man was holding was used to pick up trash,” the statement said.

“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 area and no further action was taken,” the statement added.

The investigation began Monday, and a review process is expected to conclude in 60 to 90 days.

Police Chief Greg Testa spoke at a Boulder City Council meeting Tuesday, informing outraged citizens that the initial officer has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is underway, The Denver Post reported.

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