Denver mayor to city’s student protestors: ‘We heard you’

Photo: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (AP Photo)
Michael B. Hancock is the mayor of Denver.

After days of student protests, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced Monday he will lead a series of conversations on race relations.

Students have walked out of class for four straight school days in protest of recent cases of controversial police tactics against unarmed blacks, and decisions not to prosecute the white officers involved.

On Monday, South High School students marched down Broadway, to the state Capitol and on to East High School where the protests began last week.

Hancock said he heard students loud and clear.

“We heard you. You were effective,” Hancock said. “Now go back to the classroom, do what you have to do to finish the semester strong, and help us by coming to the table … to have these conversations.”

Those conversations will begin Dec. 19, though no details are available just yet. Hancock said a series of smaller forums will lead to larger “general assemblies” around the city. The goal, he said, is to develop a plan of action to address race issues in law enforcement agencies, schools and the city at large.

“This nation, and indeed this city, is once again dealing with age-old challenge of race relations,” Hancock said.

While other cities' police departments have been the target of criticism in recent weeks, Hancock said students he met with Monday morning had good things to say about law enforcement here. Still, he admitted, there's room for improvement between young people and police.

“The message was clear: We can do better,” Hancock said.