Shay Castle Profile picture
May 4 65 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Hi, all. At the Boulder City Council meeting for tonight's vote on what, if anything, to do with Lisa Sweeney-Miran, a member of the Police Oversight Panel recommended for removal by an outside investigator.
As a recap, the outside counsel was looking into 5 complaints into the appointment process. The complaints that were upheld were against members of the selection committee, NOT Sweeney-Miran. But they were about her appointment.
The counsel found that Sweeney-Miran's public posts about police actions and violence constituted "real or perceived bias" and should have excluded her from serving on the POP. The selection committee failed to fulfill their duties, he said.
His report recommended that Sweeney-Miran should resign or be removed; she has declined. Council will tonight decide to ask again, remove her or do nothing.
Legally, they don't have to do anything: The complaints were investigated, fulfilling their obligation. They don't have to do anything with the findings.
Lots of pushback to the report on behalf of Sweeney-Miran, most notably from members of the selection committee and other residents of color, who feel their voices and lived experience are once again being overridden in matters of policing.
A couple other tidbits: Boulder's Human Relations Commission also wrote against Sweeney-Miran's appointment, for the same reasons stated above. (There's more, obvs, but it's hard to cover all of it.)…
Also lots of worry about this controversy distracting from / endangering the work of the panel itself.
A whole bunch of folks wearing El Centro Amistad shirts just walked in to council chambers.

El Centro Amistad, along with the local branch of the NAACP, were the two nonprofits with reps on the selection committee.
I have zero idea what council might actually do on this one (to be fair, I put it v little effort to find out).

My first and only indication was Mayor Brockett's Hotline email, sent just now, that he opposes removal.
"It's imperative that we try to heal our divisions and work together going forward on policing and police oversight in our community," Brockett wrote.
He will not be here tonight, hence the email.
If you're trying to watch the broadcast of the meeting, I don't think it's started yet. Technical difficulties.

The meeting itself hasn't started yet, either.
OK, getting started. Joseph not here, nor is Brockett (as stated above; he had to put his dog down :(
I imagine we'll here a bit about this during open comment, but that remains to be seen. Starting that now.
Courtney Russell: "White supremacy" is "being upheld by a lack of acknowledgement and a lack of accountability. ... (Change) is one thing those in power do not want, because it threatens their way of life."
Russell: "Police are not the problem, they are a symptom. Policing is a problem. Police are human, just like you and I. The system they are a part of" is the problem, and that what needs changed.
Darren O'Connor: "The decision you are making is whether you will increase community input into police oversight." Removing Sweeney-Miran will be "continued exclusion" of communities historically impacted by policing, who selected her.
O'Connor is a member of the local NAACP, although speaking for himself, I believe. And he wasn't the NAACP rep on the selection committee; that was Jude Landsman.
Samantha (sorry, I didn't catch her last name and don't want to butcher it): If any member of the POP has a negative opinion of police, "how will we ever cede power and increase inclusion of Black and brown people?"
"I do believe police should have to interact directly with members of groups they have historically harmed," Samantha says. How else will things change?
Lupita Jaime, via an interpreter: "I've always heard how the city wants to build trust with the community and listen to our voices, but there are still spaces like this one where they ... end up invalidating our voices."
Jaime: "What message are you sending us if you refuse to accept the recommendations of our community? ... We clearly know what bias is; we live it every day."
Jaime: The police have harassed us for a long time. "We want our community to feel safe around police; I want our children to grow up feeling safe around police, just as the white-skinned, your children, do."
Deleted a previous tweet because there was a typo in it, and it was a quote. Just re-threaded it with the correct word.
Terry, again missed her last name, and I recognize that her first name might also be spelled Terri, is our first speaker to ask for Sweeney-Miran's removal.

"If the city council can't abide by its own rules, how can you expect the community to do so?"
"Oversight means working within the existing systems to make them better," Terry says. "It doesn't mean abolishing them altogether. Having a stated abolitionist" on the POP is not appropriate.
Sweeney-Miran has not publicly stated that she is an abolitionist, but she did tweet a recommendation of a book about abolition.

"That makes me a reader," she told me, "not an abolitionist."…
Trina Holland: Following the outside counsel's recommendation will elevate his voice above those of the NAACP, El Centro Amistad and other members of historically excluded communities.
Sarah Vollmar: I don't see how people of color can be represented (on the oversight panel) if no one is allowed to hold negative opinions of police.
Sweeney-Miran is not a person of color, to be clear, but some members of the selection committee were. And I think the larger point is that this would set a precedence for future appointments to the oversight panel.
Just wanted to clarify that, not correct Vollmar or any speaker. I think they know that, but you might not!
Jude Landsman, from the selection committee: Some Boulderties want the police to remain in power. It makes them feel safe. "What people do not seem to understand is that the police are not safe for everyone in this community."
Emily Reynolds, who filed one (or two?) of the complaints in the selection process: "I urge you to consider how violating the public's trust" in such an "obvious" matter will turn out for you. The people would like an "unbiased" member of the POP.
Lynn Segal manages to tack on a salient point at the end of the absolutely most classic open comment of all time (honestly, you should go watch it): "We'll have an argument about bias rather than doing the people's work."
Leslie, also missed her last name (I'm sorry!): Public safety should be your No. 1 priority. Affirming Sweeney-Miran “would be an outrageous step in the wrong direction. You need to better support our police, rather than further demoralize them.”
Rosie Fivian, against removal. Sorry I am a bit behind and missed your comments, Rosie!
Katie Farnan: "We're spending time tonight debating whether or not to accept the advice of those we appointed to advise us. ... White citizens who do not acknowledge or experience" harm at the hands of our institutions "do not get veto power."
Farnan: We are ignoring experts giving us free advice "in favor of the comfort of a single, overpowering demographic. Who are we listening to? Whose trust is about to be broken here? How do we advance progress in Boulder, not just power, not just process?"
Council about to start discussion/vote on this. They're breaking up the consent agenda — the part of the meeting where this item is — into two parts, so the vote they're taking now is NOT on this.
Just in case you were confused. They haven't voted on it yet.
This is Item E: starting now.

Wallach: "We are in pre-litigation status with respect to this item. I urge my colleagues to be cautious and careful with what they say."
So... sounds like someone has threatened to sue?
Folkerts moves that council rejects the findings and recommendations, and allow Sweeney-Miran to remain on POP.
Speer seconds.
Folkerts: "I believe we should re-affirm our appointment ... despite recommendations of special counsel. ... The findings did not contain significant info beyond what council was aware of, and his comments led me to believe" he wasn't sufficiently aware of the POP history...
.... including the history of what led to its formation, Folkerts says.

We've heard from several former members of the POP about their frustration with the panel's lack of authority and pushback from the police, Folkerts says.
Folkerts: That's what we should be working on.

"It only takes one negative interaction with someone who is lethally armed and whose actions are implicitly endorsed by the gov't to change the trajectory of a life."
Folkerts: "What message would we be sending our community organizations if we reject the recommendations of the very groups we sought out" for their input?

Furthermore, Sweeney-Miran has not done anything in the course of her work to warrant removal.
Folkerts: Yesterday, I spoke with a panelist who asked, if we remove Sweeney-Miran, who will be next. "I question not only who will be left to speak, but what they will be comfortable saying."
Speer delivering her comments in Spanish first, then English. (She seconded the motion; did I say that already?)
Speer: "To me, this is a decision about trust. Do I trust the communities who have experience I have not had to know what they need better than I do? I do, and I will vote from this place of trust."
Speer: When we ask these community members to donate their time and perspective, we need to be prepared to follow their recommendations — and to back them up when they are attacked for them.
Wallach, Winer, Yates, Friend and Benjamin vote against rejecting the counsel's findings and keeping Sweeney-Miran on the panel, so that motion for her to remain is defeated.
Benjamin makes a motion to remove Sweeney-Miran from the panel.
Friend: "I believe in the value and necessity of the POP. I fought for city council to not weigh in on the selection. We are mired in the politicization that I knew would happen. I tried to make my decision through the lens of what would do the least harm."
Friend: "What she's been put through is deplorable. It's unforgiveable. Lisa is fit to serve, nothing in this report changes my mind." But the findings are not appeal-able, and the recommendations were for her removal.
Removing her "feels like a slap in the face" to the people who selected her, Friend says. But if she stays, and police who are disciplined sue to overturn that, I like their changes.
Friend: "We could roll the dice and see if I'm right," but it could result in "officers the city wants to discipline get their discipline reversed. That part is not hypothetical; it happens."

"I don't see how that moves us forward in racial justice or police oversight."
As Friend is speaking, most of the community members in the audience — including everyone from El Centro Amistad and NAACP — got up and walked out.
Benjamin: "I respect Lisa and value her opinion. She is a friend." My issue is that it "exposes the Police Oversight Panel in some ways to nullify their work, which is opposite of what we're trying to do."
"It is just one person, but the rest of the panel needs to be able to work," Benjamin says. "It is with the heaviest (heart) that I recommend her removal. This is a tough one, but I'm hopeful we can get to a better place."
Speer and Folkerts vote against affirming the findings of special counsel and removing Lisa Sweeney-Miran from the Police Oversight Panel.

That passes 5-2: Wallach, Winer, Friend, Benjamin, Yates in favor (Joseph, Brockett absent)
That's all for this one, and for me.
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More from @shayshinecastle

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We're in open comment, as none of tonight's items have a public hearing.

Annett James from the local NAACP chapter is first. "We have a duly selected, unanimously confirmed slate" of police oversight panelists, she says. "Yet is in jeopardy of being dismantled."
"Because a member have exercised their right to criticize the government," James says. Removing Sweeney-Miran will exacerbate the erosion of community trust.

About a dozen in the audience holding up signs in support.
Joanne Corson: "All of us have bias. Prioritizing Douglas' bias over El Centro Amistad and the NAACP ... is in complete opposition to the intent of the Police Oversight Panel."

(Douglas = the special investigator that recommended Sweeney-Miran's removal)
Read 55 tweets
Apr 20
Here — in person — at the Boulder city council meeting. Tonight we're talking the recommendation that Lisa Sweeney-Miran be removed from the POP, and what Boulder's official position on the state land use bill will be.
Also, the city's long-in-process middle-income down payment assistance program.
I had to turf someone out of "my" seat (ahem, @ericmbudd) but luckily he was nice about it.
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Staff presentation on family homelessness:…
You can also read more about family homelessness as part of Homelessness 101.…
For homelessness purposes, family = school-aged kids

Family homelessness is up... way up. In the City of Boulder so far this school year, 289 kids have experienced homelessness, the highest number in over a decade.
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