‘The Community Is Demanding More Of You:’ First Council Meeting Since Protests Began In CO Springs

June 9, 2020
Protesters on Sunday, June 7 continue gathering at City Hall to denounce police brutality.Protesters on Sunday, June 7 continue gathering at City Hall to denounce police brutality. Andrea Chalfin / KRCC News
Protesters on Sunday, June 7 continue gathering at City Hall to denounce police brutality.

Tuesday marked the first regular city council meeting in Colorado Springs since protests over police brutality began in the city. 

Community members voiced their concerns during the public comment section, which was moved until after 1 p.m.. The phone system was marked with technical issues that some said made it difficult to participate in the meeting.

When community members spoke to the council, they advocated representatives take reformative action. This included immediate changes to the Colorado Springs Police Department, like requiring all officers to wear body cameras and mandating de-escalation training.

Many also discussed the death of De'Von Bailey and proposed changes to the police use of force guidelines, like banning chokeholds and prohibiting the shooting of suspects in the back. 

A bill at the statehouse brought forward last week proposes a ban on chokeholds, along with other measures limiting deadly and excessive force. In addition, according to the police department, there are approximately 500 body cameras currently in use, but it's unclear how many are needed for all officers on duty to wear one.

Derrick Matthews said he has been protesting for over a week and is disappointed in the response from the city.

"The fact that we haven't had much public information from our city officials nor dialogue open to the public," said Matthews, "It's very disheartening to see that we're not moving as progressively as this city claims to do."

City Council President Richard Skorman said the council plans to meet again Thursday afternoon in a closed session, along with community leaders, to begin discussing the creation of a police accountability advisory committee. He said they plan to have meetings open to the public in the future.

Nikki Hernandez said, for her, the creation of an advisory committee is too little, too late.

"What I'm hearing is a lot of nothing. I'm here to say that's not enough," said Hernandez. "The community is demanding more of you. They're demanding a restructuring of the oppressive society we live in."

At the conclusion of public comments, Skorman said he and the rest of the city council understood people's sense of urgency and encouraged people to continue to speak at future city council meetings.