As masses of people march for change to law enforcement systems that disproportionately affect people of color, reforms that advocates have demanded for years are resurfacing.
Local and national unrest over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody has propelled long-desired policy changes and seeded new ones in Denver. We’ll follow those changes here.
💡 = the idea is floating around out there
➡ = decision-makers are moving forward on the idea
✅ = the policy has changed
❌ = the policy change failed
💡 Shrinking RTD’s transit security budget and adding mental health services for passengers
RTD spent about $38 million on safety and security in 2019, with nearly $30 million of that going to contractors like multinational giant Allied Universal. Board member Shontel Lewis will introduce a motion Tuesday evening that would reduce that budget and reallocate the money to mental health support.
“For long enough we have been ignoring the root of the issues, the systems and the fruit it bears,” Lewis wrote in a statement. “Our responsibility is for the people, their safety and their well-being.”
A Denver artist is currently suing RTD, alleging that three Allied security guards contracted by RTD beat him in a bathroom at Union Station in 2018. The artist, Raverro Stinnett, suffered broken teeth and permanent brain scarring, his lawsuit states.
“You have created a racist, hierarchical public transit system that is designed to make poor people of color afraid for their lives,” P.J. D’Amico, who identified himself as a friend of Stinnett’s who was with him that night, told the RTD board in April.
Board chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede said the agency expects Allied to “properly train and supervise its officers to meet RTD’s high standards of public safety.”
“With that in mind, I would like to say that RTD does have an obligation to ensure the safety, cleanliness, and accessibility of our transit system,” she added.
Lewis says her motion could be up for its first vote later in the month.