AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – The president of the Aurora police union pushed back against the attorney general’s report that was highly critical of the Aurora Police Department.
Marc Sears, president of Aurora FOP Lodge 49, said he is completely willing to work with the attorney general to make meaningful changes, but he said the report unfairly characterized Aurora officers as racially biased.
“When you think about how rapidly our situations evolve, and you think about [how] we have to wear a bullet proof vest to work every day, are people really going to be that juvenile to think that I care about your race, your gender, your sexuality? I just want to go home to my kids. Police officers don’t care what color you are,” Sears said.
A 112-page report issued on Wednesday found Aurora police used force against people of color almost 2.5 times more than they did against white people.
“I think statistically, you can do anything with statistics to kind of present what it is you want to present,” Sears responded.
According to the FOX31 Data Desk, in Denver, blacks are three times more likely to have force used on them. In Colorado Springs, it is about 3.5 times more likely.
The attorney general’s report found Aurora arrested people of color 1.3 times more than white people. “If you are white, black, Hispanic, you have the ability to commit a crime just like anybody else does. If you commit that crime, I’m going to put you in jail,” Sears said.
He said a series of events have made it more difficult to be an effective police officer and many experienced officers are leaving the force in record numbers. He took issue with the report’s findings that Aurora’s hiring practices also discriminate against minorities.
“Regardless of your color, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, if you meet the minimum standard of the Aurora Police Department and successfully complete our police academy, and field training, I want you by my side to fight for the citizens of Aurora. I don’t care what your color is. None of us care. We just want you to get the job done,” Sears said.
“I say to that culture, if it really is the answer is, ‘We want to have more people part of our race or culture’ or however you want to put it to police us, sign up. We got plenty of room. If you have what it takes, we’d love to have you,” Sears continued.
The city has 60 days to agree to changes and implement changes. If they don’t, the attorney general could take legal action. Sears just hopes the police union has a seat at the table for discussions about proposed changes.