Susan Holmes:End Police Violence
Police Corruption and Brutality in Fort Collins
Police Secrecy is the greatest challenge to government transparency on local, state and national levels. Corruption, brutality and lack of transparency have been active, long term problems in Fort Collins. There are three core reasons why these problems still exist:
1. Embedded leadership protection of inadequate police personnel
2. Crafting of disinformation to protect professional privilege
3. Lack of oversight, experience & knowledge on the part of the City Council
We must end police violence & re-engineer community policing. My campaign details the actual policies and behavioral changes required to implement ‘real change’ in community policing. I am the first political candidate in Colorado to run on a police reform platform that provides real solutions to a local and national issue. The polarization between the police and community members is completely unnecessary. The responsibility for solving this problem lies solely with the City Council in each community.
Police Records Must Be Open to the Public
The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) does not allow you to have access to police records. Colorado State and City Police are allowed full discretion in preventing access to agency records based on the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (CCJRA). This is an archaic state law that should be repealed. The CCJRA is consistently used by police agencies to prevent any public scrutiny. This abuse of power is endemic to the ongoing police violence and corruption taking place in our city and the CSU college campus. A community member may have to spend thousands of dollars in litigation fees so that they might have access to police records. This is a practice taking place in Fort Collins and can be stopped by administrative policies that mandate transparency. Without total transparency within our police agencies there is no accountability. Mandate Open Records!
Police Related Lawsuits 2009 to 2019
With the submission of a Public Information request; the Fort Collins risk management department provided a list of lawsuits related to FC police actions. The data link (click on image) related to police lawsuits reveals that there are ongoing cases of police brutality with pending cases from 2018. The consequences of the ongoing police brutality can only be addressed and diminished when a qualified member of the community is able to apply the proper mechanisms for the reduction of police violence. A mandate for police transparency and a de-escalation approach is essential for non-violent community policing. So far… the City Council has failed to meet this challenge. It’s time for a change.
Resistance is a Crime: Based on Officer Perception
Fort Collins Police Services Policy 300: Response to Resistance is a perfect example of why the City of Fort Collins is involved in a number of police brutality lawsuits. Instead of defining the appropriate safety measures for preservation of life with a de-escalated approach; the policy displaces behavioral responsibility from the officer to any person who might ‘resist’ his or her use of force. The word ‘reasonable’ is used 37 times as a guideline for officer behavior. Yet…the policy clearly states that there is no way to specify the reasonable force to be applied (2nd line of policy). Based on the officer’s discretion, any applied use of force, will automatically be deemed reasonable because the policy says so. Many times, force, is a perceptual position that is an implied threat i.e. gun & uniform. If someone fails to respond to the implication, they may be perceived as a ‘resistor’ and become subject to the discretionary response of the officer. This is a dominant/submissive model inherited from the 20th century. Could an officer and ‘resistor’ ever reach a resolution that is not impaired by authoritarian privilege? Yes. We change the policy and then we change the culture. Mandate: De-escalation Use of Force policy.
Colorado State University police officers are authorized to enforce the Fort Collins City Code. That means CSU police officers are allowed to operate as law enforcement within the confines of the City of Fort Collins. See Administrative Regulations For Special Police Officers…
Here is the Response to Resistance and Aggression Policy from the Colorado State University Police Department. I had to receive permission from the CSU General Counsel in order to get a copy of their policy in 2018. However, the copy was not released to me until a media source contacted CSU.
It’s important for citizens to understand that the police agencies of Colorado State University and the City of Fort Collins have a very close working relationship. Please note the similarities between the ‘Response to Resistance’ policies utilized by each agency. In January of 2018, I (Susan Holmes) met with the Colorado State University (CSU) President Tony Frank and provided documentation on the changes that CSU could implement in order to prevent any future homicides by campus police. I proposed a de-escalation training curriculum that could serve all of Northern Colorado. One of the documents included the contrast between a lethal use of force policy and a preservation of life approach. This document was also distributed throughout the CSU campus. See Creating a Culture of De-Escalation…
Four of the 30 guiding principles found in the ground breaking PERF publication Guiding Principles on Use of Force provide a concise outline of the direction and overall approach needed to re-engineer our local police agencies.
1. Prioritize the preservation of human life
2. Adopt de-escalation as a formal agency policy
3. Quickly release information about any use of force incident
4. Train officers to intervene and prevent another officer from using excessive force
Embed Mental Health Crisis Personnel
We must de-criminalize mental health crises that involve police contact…
Although, police officers may have received some Crisis Intervention Training, the application of this training is not reinforced sufficiently to impact police responses when faced with a mentally ill person. Our current policing approach utilizes commands and physical threats as a means to gain compliance. When a person is not processing information properly, they are unable to respond to someone barking orders. Embedding a mental health crisis worker with police can provide behavioral strategies in place of lethal confrontations. At least 25 percent of people killed by police are mentally ill or in a mental health crisis at the time of their death. This is an alarming statistic that is not being tracked by police agencies. However, Fatal Force, with the Washington Post has created a database that tracks the number of police homicides and identifies the percentage of homicides that were related to a mental health crisis. Embedded crisis personnel and higher performance standards for police responses in dealing with mental illness can be a baseline for evolving our cultural norms and ending police violence. Embed mental health crisis personnel…
Shoot to Kill or Preservation of Life
A culture of de-escalation starts with the guiding principle of preserving life. The ability to save lives in critical situations and prevent lethal encounters starts with equipping our police agencies with less than lethal options. Many of the police homicides in Fort Collins could have been avoided had the policy guidelines dictated the use of less than lethal weapons as a tactical strategy for resolving confrontations. Tasers are not effective due to proximity requirements. A less than lethal option that provides distance, such as a bean-bag shotgun, has been utilized effectively in many communities for a number of decades. Blunt Impact projectiles (BIP) maybe safer and more effective than bean-bag shotguns. Fort Collins needs to mandate the use and training of less lethal weaponry. We do not need to kill community members. Mandate: Less Than Lethal Weapons
End Officer Created Jeopardy
We have to recognize, acknowledge and end officer created jeopardy…
Officer created jeopardy takes place when an officer creates an unnecessary confrontation where he has to kill a person to save himself. Police have been doing this for decades. However, City leadership will not acknowledge this problem due to liability issues. This is why you see the term ‘reasonable’ referenced 37 times in the Response to Resistance policy of the Fort Collins Police Services. ‘Reasonable’ is the key descriptor for releasing police from legal or civil responsibility when their actions lead to injury or death. An officer acting on impulse while violating training protocols is not held accountable when his actions are ‘justified’ by the prevailing authority that works for the City. The pre-actions to a violent or lethal encounter by an officer are intentionally ignored so that the blame always falls on the community member. Communities have been conditioned to accept this perceptual position. This is an abuse of power that has been institutionalized as a city model for decades. Even though the City Council is the employer for the police agency they will never intervene to insure justice. The Courts, the DA and the City Council will always protect the police at the expense of the individual. Lets’ never forget the Timothy Masters case where the local city authority was complicit in blocking the DNA testing that ultimately freed an innocent person. We cannot generate positive community outcomes until destructive behaviors have been identified, acknowledged and then changed. End officer created jeopardy…
Fort Collins: Be a National Leader in Police Reform
My campaign platform is focused on fixing the underlying issues related to police violence, public corruption and the cycle of abuse embedded in our political community. I have just outlined the mechanisms for transforming a community problem that has existed for decades in Fort Collins and in cities across the nation. This is not a small task; however, our communities have reached a critical stage: we either model the required evolution or we face social decay. We can no longer ignore a subculture of violence and corruption while promoting green initiatives and economic development. It’s time to re-engineer our ‘social’ infrastructure so that Fort Collins is a sustainable environment for generating a higher standard of human behavior. Career politicians will never make these changes: this must be a mandate from the community. It’s up to the community to vote for a viable alternative candidate that will implement the appropriate mechanisms for ‘real’ change. It’s time to fix the problem…
Actions Taken by Susan Holmes
Susan Holmes Information
My 19 year old son was killed because of officer created jeopardy. From the moment my son was killed, I have fought the police secrecy and corruption involved in his homicide. I have personally experienced every issue that I have presented as my platform. To this day, CSU has refused to release any documents and unredacted body camera footage in my son’s homicide. There are serious transparency and corruption issues in Fort Collins. With the support of the community, Fort Collins can take a leadership position in re-engineering our approach to community policing. The knowledge and mechanisms for this transformation have been presented in my platform. End officer created jeopardy, stop criminalizing mental health crises and no more police brutality.
I love you through time Jeremy…