AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — On Tuesday, the public got the chance to meet the two finalists for Aurora’s next police chief. After a nationwide search, Scott Ebner and David Franklin are the selected finalists.

Ebner is the deputy superintendent of administration for New Jersey State Police and Franklin is the chief of staff at the Albuquerque Police Department in New Mexico. Both are currently in the midst of a three-day, in-person finalist selection process.

Before Tuesday’s meet-and-greet session at the Aurora Municipal Center, minority and faith leaders gathered to make their voices heard. They say the African American community was left out of the process to find the next chief and they want answers.

Local activist Candice Bailey said she is frustrated and fed up after the Black community was promised a seat at the table, but she told FOX31 that did not happen. She wants the city to know that representation matters and that’s what they wanted to see.

“This is unacceptable for our community, and this is not equity, this is not diversity, and this is not inclusion,” Bailey said. “We are to have representation of our community and the two finalists we are looking at are white men. That means that you did not speak to my community, because we never would have selected these two gentlemen.”

Dissatisfaction after police oversight group dissolved

Bailey and several former members of Aurora’s oversight task force gathered on Tuesday to speak out about feeling silenced.

“The process eliminates community and that is violence against our community,” Bailey said passionately. “If you silence us, that is violence!”

According to Bailey, the task force was created to oversee police actions and build community trust. She said members were commissioned for two years, but the task force dissolved after six months when Councilwoman Nicole Johnston stepped down.

“As a task force, we are now requesting that we are reinstated,” Bailey said.

As the search for the city’s next top cop deepens, outrage is growing over the final candidates among the minority community. The Aurora Police Department has a troubled history of allegations of racism, brutality and mistrust and Bailey said the relationship needs to heal and be fixed.

During an interview with FOX31 on Friday, civil rights activist Alvertis Simmons said he wants to see diversity, especially after the death of Elijah McClain and the violent arrest of Preston Nunn III.

“What about the entire community, what about the Black community, what about us?” Simmons said. “I don’t even think they’re interviewing a Black police chief for Aurora. They ought to interview a Black police chief, maybe a female Black police chief, because she can show more love and compassion for our community. I think.”

Pastor Thomas Mayes spoke on Tuesday evening and said the African community was disrespected.

“We as a community are outraged because we were left out not just this one time — every time,” Mayes said. “Our community has been tricked into thinking that we played a role in the process. I was personally asked to present the candidates to the community as if I was a part of the process. As a pastor. I had to restrain myself from reacting to that.”

Aurora Police said community members had the chance to submit questions to an online portal before finalists were selected, with those questions asked in a taped interview with both finalists. Those interviews were posted Tuesday night and people can watch them and provide community feedback.

FOX31 has reached out to APD and the city for a response about the former task force members’ claims and will update this story once comment is provided.