A Colorado Panel Discussion On Race, Law Enforcement Relations

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Photo: A Colorado Discussion on Race, Law Enforcement Relations
Citizens rally in the aftermath of recent shootings across the country.

There is still much work to be done in the relationship between law enforcement and some Front Range minority communities, according to the participants in a discussion on race and policing.

Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz, Denver Independent Monitor Nick Mitchell and Vincent Bowen, an official with Black Lives Matter 5280, talked with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about the impact the recent shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, St. Paul, Minnesota and Dallas have had on Colorado.

Bowen is leading a 135-hour vigil in Denver -- an hour for each of the African-American lives that have been lost in police shootings over the last year.

"During the past four days, we have created a space for black people to grieve, love on another one another, and connect with people of color who are mourning those gunned down by police violence," the group said on its Facebook page regarding the vigil, which began last week. "It was important to us that we create this space for healing in the shadow of the very institutions that perpetuate this violence, and have failed to bring justice to our communities. We wanted to counter the forces of these oppressive structures with a fierce energy of love and resistance."

Mitchell, who heads the civilian oversight agency for the Denver police and sheriff's departments, spoke to the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities in the city.

Metz, who joined the city of Aurora in 2015, said much work still has to be done in solidifying the relationship between police and the citizens they serve.

Denver Independent Monitor Nick Mitchell on interaction between police and youth: "We've had concerns (from) young people and their families about good kids having really bad interactions with police."

Black Lives Matter activist Vincent Bowen on recent events: "We have a country that was founded on the principle of exploiting and devaluing Black lives."

Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz on his message to officers after the shootings in Dallas: "Be careful. Safety in numbers. Make sure radio and other officers know where you are at all times."