Denver Public Schools Video: Police Have Been Trained to See People of Color as “Criminals”

By Matt Connelly

A video shown at Denver Public Schools on Tuesday morning tells students to “avoid the police” because “police have been trained to see people of color, gender non-conforming folks and muslims as criminals, they often treat victims as perpetrators of violence.”

According to KDVR News, “the video was produced by a group of academics and activists in New York at the Barnard Center for Research on Women. It is unclear what audience it is intended for or if the center is aware its material is being shown to public school students.”

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen responded to KDVR News, telling them in an interview, “We’ve gone out of our way, above and beyond to really address the harm that is created by bias-motivated incidents. And to have all of that thrown out the window with a video produced by a group that is self-described abolitionists makes no sense to me.”

The Denver Police Foundation issued a statement calling the video “reprehensible”:

“While it is commendable of school administration to educate students relative to possible responses to racial attacks at school, it is reprehensible of them to include a tip that specifically states not to contact police while simultaneously telling students they should put themselves front and center of the exchange.”

Angele Muhigirwa, who’s niece is a sophomore at Denver South, told ABC Denver that not all police are intent on harming people of color. 

“They’re the ones that are trained to help that kind of situation out. And parents or students shouldn’t feel like they can’t come to them for assistance for help,” Muhigirwa said. “Not all officers’ intentions are to harm people of color.”

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About the Author:

Matt Connelly is the founder of Campfire Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @MattConnelly.