A large crowd demanded that officials in Boulder, Colorado, address racial profiling after police officers confronted Zayed Atkinson, a Black man who was cleaning his yard, on March 1.
The Naropa University student was observed sitting behing a “private property” sign in a partially enclosed patio. A cop then approached him to ask if he was allowed to be there.
Atkinson allegedly told the officer he lived and worked in the building before handing over his school identification card. The officer, however, still called for assistance because he claimed the university student didn’t comply when asked to drop his trash grabber and bucket.
In a video of the incident, an onlooker says a total of eight officers responded to the backup call. Some of them pulled their firearms, others had their hands on their weapons.
“I live here,” Atkinson can be heard telling the officers. “I am picking up garbage from my f***king porch. I go to school here. You guys don’t have a right to be doing this.”
He is then instructed by one officer to “put the object down.” Bothered by the scenario, Atkinson tells the authorities, “Don’t f***king tell me what to do. I have a right to be doing this. Are you going to shoot me or you’re going to tase me, arrest me and beat the s**t out of me like every other?” he asked.
After the nearly 16-minute ordeal, officers left without detaining the man.
Shannon Aulabaugh, a spokesperson for the police, told the local news outlet they were “launching an internal affairs investigation into the call and the response, which is expected to take 60 to 90 days.”
Some rally organizers believe that the incident should not have happened.
“We’re so very tired of seeing so many instances of police misconduct here in Boulder that go unchecked,” protester Nami Thompson told CBS Denver.
The alleged victim spoke in front of the large crowd saying, “I came out here today to take a stand for colored people everywhere, and not just colored people but all people and all life. . . . It’s not just about me and it’s not just about racial profiling.”
Atkinson went on to explain how the police department needs to be aware of diversity when patrolling the streets.