Boulder considers controversial rules to curb violence on streets, in parks

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BOULDER, Colo. -- There’s a new push in Boulder to curb the violence on the streets and in the parks. The city council is considering new rules that the ACLU says target the homeless population.

The city says it just wants to bring back the “social norm” and allow families to visit the parks, safely.

Sarah Huntley, a spokesperson for the City of Boulder said, “ What we’re seeing is a lot of behavior that involves drinking, smoking of various of substances, I’d like to reiterate, despite amendment 64 it is illegal to consume marijuana in public, that’s been a big problem for us; fighting, a lot of swearing.”

Huntley says the city started to see more congregations of people about two years ago during the Occupy Movement. She said it’s not people gathering that is against the law. It’s the problems that come from people disobeying the laws.

Data provided to the council by the City Manager shows there are multiple repeat offenders. Huntley said the city wants to, “Focus on the behaviors that are problematic, and strike the right balance.”

The city council is working with the City Attorney and Boulder Police to determine what to do. They’ve considered everything from increased police patrols, to increased sentencing guidelines, even no smoking rules. Now, they’re looking at possibly fencing off certain areas like the historic Band Shell.

“The Band Shell, which is a historic structure, is beginning to suffer some consequences of wear and tear,” said Huntley.  She added, “We want a space that everyone can enjoy.”

The ACLU released this statement which reads in part:

"Contrary to the city’s contention that these measures are necessitated by criminal behavior, data provided to the Council by the City Manager shows that the majority of arrests on the municipal campus were for technical rule violations that had no effect on the public’s ability to enjoy the space. Yet many of the proposals before the Council would unjustly criminalize more activities and create more violations and arrests, seemingly to make life so difficult for targeted members of the community that they are driven out of the space."

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