DENVER, CO – The Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado and the Latino Caucus of Colorado today released the following joint statement on the murder of Tyre Nichols:
We, the members of Colorado’s Black and Latino caucuses grieve for Tyre Nichols, his family, and his community. We mourn with Memphis, we ache, we are angry. In our pain and anger, we offer not just thoughts and prayers, but a renewed commitment to action that will upend the policy choices that led to Tyre’s death– policy choices that will lead to the next preventable police killing if we do not change course swiftly.
Racism– from the implicit and internalized bias that our lives, our bodies, and even our homes are so worth less than others’– is perceived to be tolerable, or without consequence. The events in Memphis highlight a culture that is so deep and pervasive that it supplants moral hierarchies like taking care of your own community. This is a result not of rogue bad actors, but of a system that is complicit in funding, facilitating, and fomenting such lethal outcomes for Black civilians in Tennessee, in Colorado, and nationwide.
Officers being swiftly dismissed from their jobs and charged for their alleged crimes is necessary, but we must set the bar higher. We hope these steps toward justice are due to the recognition of the cruelty behind the imbalance of power that is police brutality, not because of the perpetrators’ persuasion. We hope this example of diligence will apply to all who dare to behave this grievously in the future.
Thousands live with the anxiety of how they will be treated if accosted by law enforcement. In 2020 Colorado ranked 5th in the nation for Black deaths at the hands of police. The anxiety manifests in poor physical and mental health of the Black and Latino communities. This is a public health and public safety concern.
Our state’s definition of safety should confront the reality that many feel not only insecure in walking, driving, or going to sleep in their home, but also in calling for help without having to risk bodily harm or death. That is why the Black and Brown caucuses will continue to fight for accountability and safety efforts that address root causes of harm and not policies designed to maintain the status quo.
In a state that prides ourselves on enacting data-driven legislation, it’s time to legislate our values. We call on public support to encourage our colleagues to do the same.
Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado Chair Jennifer Bacon
Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado Vice Chair James Coleman
Colorado Latino Caucus Vice Chair Julie Gonzales
Colorado Latino Caucus Chair Elizabeth Velasco