Police in Boulder, Colorado, are investigating after officers detained a man who was cleaning up trash from his porch.
A March 4 news release from the Boulder Police Department stated that an officer saw a man sitting in a partially enclosed patio area immediately behind a “Private Property” sign early on Friday, March 1. The cop walked up to the man, Zayd Atkinson, who was holding a trash picker.
When approached by the officer, Atkinson said he lived and worked in the building and handed over his school identification card. The cop detained Atkinson to look further into his story and requested backup over the radio, indicating Atkinson wasn’t cooperating and would not put down the trash picker, which was described as “a blunt object” in the release. Several officers responded to the request, including a supervisor.
Ultimately, it was determined that Atkinson legally had the right to be on the property and the cop gave back his ID. The officers then left the premises and no further action was taken.
However, the release does not detail the weapons that were reportedly drawn on Atkinson.
His housemate and friend, Vanardo Merchant, uploaded a video of the incident to his Facebook page Friday morning before posting the same clip on YouTube. In it, an officer has his gun drawn as Atkinson maintains he lives in the home and was outside “doing my work and my job.”
“I live here!” Atkinson shouts. “I am picking up garbage from my f—ing porch!”
The officer tells Atkinson to calm down and drop his weapon. Atkinson was holding a trash picker in his right hand and a bucket in his left.
Merchant, who is behind the camera, shouts in protest of the officers and pleads with Atkinson to let things go before cussing out the officers.
In total, Merchant counted eight officers who showed up to the scene and he said they either had their weapons drawn or had their hands on them.
After initially reviewing the incident Friday, BPD on Monday launched an internal probe. After the report is complete, the results will be reviewed by the Professional Standards Review Panel, which is composed of six community members and six members of the police department. They will give the chief of police a recommendation after their review.
In total, the investigation and the review process will take about 60 to 90 days.
“All aspects of this incident, specifically the actions of the initial officer are being investigated,” Police Chief Greg Testa said at a City Council meeting Tuesday night according to The Daily Camera.
“This is an extremely concerning issue, and one that we are taking very seriously,” he said reading from a prepared statement.