George Brauchler: Stats point to Boulder, not Aurora, for…
At the intersection of politics and the Rule of Law lies injustice. That injustice discredits our justice system and must be identified and rooted out.
Just after — and as a result of — the George Floyd murder and Elijah McClain’s death, the legislature passed a sweeping law enforcement reform bill. The new law, C.R.S 24-31-113, states in part:
“It is unlawful for any governmental authority…to engage in a pattern or practice…that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities… protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States or the State of Colorado.”
The bill charged the attorney general to take action to eliminate the pattern and practice whenever he had mere “reasonable cause” to believe it existed. Colorado’s AG Phil We iser has interpreted that broad language to empower him with limitless discretion to initiate an investigation of his choosing based upon whatever evidence he chooses to rely on.
On Aug. 11, 2020, Weiser revealed his unprecedented investigation of the “patterns and practices” of the Aurora Police Department, using the controversial oversight powers bestowed upon him by the progressive-led legislature and progressive Gov. Jared Polis less than two months before.
More than 13 months later, on Sept. 15, 2021, Weiser announced that Aurora PD had “a pattern and practice of race-based policing” based upon a report using selective data and outcome-driven analysis to arrive at the incendiary conclusion that the men and women of the Aurora PD engage in “a consistent pattern of illegal behavior.”
That dubious analysis involved the rudimentary comparison of the proportion of Aurora PD’s contacts and arrests of a racial group to that same group’s proportion of the population of Aurora.
The result of that taxpayer-funded debacle of a report was a coerced “consent decree” between the Aurora PD and the criminal justice-inexperienced Weiser’s AG office. That consent was compelled by the legislative-empowerment of the AG to use “a civil action (to) obtain all appropriate relief to eliminate the pattern and practice.” Aurora PD will operate under ongoing and mandated oversight for years.
Using the same logical fallacy — that“percentage of population” supports a finding of racially disparate patterns and practices — the proportion of Blacks cited, summonsed and arrested by Boulder police and sheriff’s deputies was 600% higher than their proportion in the general population of Boulder. Boulder is where Weiser spent years as a law professor and where Gov. Polis and his family make their home.
Of course, Weiser pursued no investigation of Boulder law enforcement for a racial disparity far greater than that claimed in Aurora.
On July 7, 2022, a report was released by the Vera Institute, an organization self-described as “working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all.”
The report was an Aurora-style analysis of statistics of racial disparities resulting from the Boulder DA’s prosecutions.
The numbers are damning.
The report found that the “Latinx/ White Prison Incarceration Disparity” from Boulder’s prosecutions more than doubled the national average. Although Black people comprise about 1% of Boulder’s population in 208/2019, they made up 5% of criminal defendants in Boulder. Black adults in Boulder had a felony case filing rate 7.5 times that of non-Hispanic Whites. That is 750% more than Whites. Additionally, “Black and Hispanic/Latinx people are disproportionately sentenced to prison.”
Despite making up only one in 25 of the Boulder DA’s cases, Blacks make up one in 12 of those sentenced to prison from Boulder.
Let me be clear: Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty — who I have known and worked with for many years — is as far from racially biased as any prosecutor in America. He is a good man who seeks to do justice for all in his community, even if we disagree about how best to do that. Despite our occasional disagreements and his max-out political contributions to Weiser, I would gladly work alongside Dougherty.
None of that should be relevant according to Weiser. The statistics and analysis speak for themselves. The racially disparate numbers from Boulder police, sheriffs and DA eclipse those of Aurora. Yet, for Polis’ home city, one that provides significant voter support for Weiser — there is nothing. No investigation. No consent decree. Nothing.
The only logical conclusion Colorado can draw is that the exercise of these broad AG super powers is politically motivated.
The woke, social-justice warriors — an outspoken and powerful base for Democrats — demanded action after the George Floyd and Elijah McClain incidents, and Weiser acceded to those demands. In Boulder, where progressive Democrats reign supreme, there is no comment from our state’s Democratic AG. Politics and the rule of law should not intersect. Here, they run on top of each other — and that is an injustice.
The lesson here is that what is good for Aurora is good for Boulder. Then again, maybe it isn’t good for either of them.
George Brauchler is the former district attorney for the 18th Judicial District. He also is president of the Advance Colorado Academy, which identifies, trains and connects conservative leaders in Colorado. He hosts The George Brauchler Show on 710KNUS Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on Twitter: @GeorgeBrauchler.
The racially disparate numbers from Boulder police, sheriffs and DA eclipse those of Aurora. Yet, for Polis’ home city, one that provides significant voter support for Weiser — there is nothing. No investigation. No consent decree. Nothing.
The Denver Gazette
16 Aug 2022
Reprinted from The Denver Gazette