Below is a press release sent to us by LGBTQ Aurora Councilwoman, Alison Coombs, regarding the call for her resignation for speaking out against police brutality.
The charge against Ms. Coombs was initially led by Aurora Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 49 President Marc Sears.
Aurora is the same police department that has a long history of violence against its own residents and in the case of Elijah McClain – his death.
Two weeks ago, 1000 Erie residents came out and marched against Racial Injustice. They were joined by the Mayor, the entire Board of Trustees, and the Police Chief.
Boulder District Attorney, Michael Dougherty, has stood with Black Lives Matter.
Representatives Leslie Herrod and Jonathan Singer were in Denver on the first day of protests.
Elected leaders across the country are standing with Black Lives Matter.
What makes the case of Alison Coombs different?
Perhaps it is because she spoke out strongly against police brutality. Perhaps because she used the word ‘fuck’. Perhaps it is because she is openly gay. We don’t know.
Yellow Scene Magazine has seen our own share of hate mail and online attacks for criticizing Trump, for featuring the DiverCity series, for insisting that masks save lives, for criticizing the Iraq war, for questioning gun laws, the list goes on.
What we do know is that the level of hate being conveyed by those retaliating against Councilwoman Coombs and others must end. This is the same violence that has led to churches being bombed, supremacists running over protestors, and the deaths of too many people at the hands of police.
COUNCILWOMAN ALISON COOMBS’
Background: On June 15th, Councilwoman Coombs made a personal Facebook post expressing solidarity between the LGBTQ+ community and the ongoing Black Lives Matter uprisings. Four days later, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 49 President Marc Sears located this post, and shared it on his group’s Facebook page, which began to attract attention from police and families of police across the country. They began to comment en masse, often in blatantly homophobic and threatening tones. Councilwoman Coombs set the post to private on June 20th. That same day, Fox 31 ran a story on the issue, featuring a heavily truncated statement from Councilwoman Coombs, and an interview with Marc Sears, who called upon Ms. Coombs to resign. Denver 7 News ran a short, pre-recorded interview with Ms. Coombs on the 21st.
The Post: The original post is a shared image featuring the text: “Fuck Pride. It’s Wrath Month. NO COPS. NO KKK. NO RACIST USA. ALL LIVES DON’T MATTER UNTIL BLACK LIVES MATTER. WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER, AND WE’RE FUCKING ANGRY FOR OUR BLACK SIBLINGS.”
Messaging Guidelines: Messages on this issue can be left on Councilwoman Coombs’ official Facebook page, on comment threads attached to relevant news stories, or submitted as comments during Public Invited to be Heard during official Aurora City Council meetings by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Messages submitted to council can be either written, or recorded, but in both cases must be under 3 minutes in length.
Topline Message: This is a manufactured controversy created to distract from the fact that FOP is on the wrong side of history. Ms. Coombs stands by her comments, and is saddened that this issue is distracting from the much-needed policy that will protect our black neighbors from an out-of-control police culture.
- “No Cops” may seem like a radical and scary idea, but it just means reimagining how policing works in this country. The police are currently called upon to deal with almost every social problem, while receiving only minimal training to handle these issues.
- When we train our police like occupying soldiers, they treat us like enemy combatants.
- The future of policing that Ms. Coombs envisions still involves the police, but as a single small part of a much larger social support network. This network involves caregivers, therapists, counselors, social workers, animal control, and conflict resolution specialists. Armed, sworn officers would only be a last resort to respond to imminent violent threats.
- Many officers and chiefs of police have acknowledged that their forces are not adequately equipped to handle the range of issues they are currently responsible for.
- In several cities, police advocacy groups have organized work slowdowns: essentially, police strikes. Data from these events indicate that communities were no less safe when police ceased their routine activities.
- Ms. Coombs supports steps taken by the Colorado legislature, namely, SB 217, and several of the directives issued by Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson to curb violence within the APD.
- She also strongly supports the efforts of her colleague, Councilmember Marcano, to ban the use of carotid holds, ketamine injections, and tear gas.
- Solidarity between the Black and LGBTQ+ communities is essential to advance justice for all. Pride Month was kicked off by trans women of color who were resisting police brutality. Ms. Coombs is proud to carry on this legacy of mutual support and fighting for justice.
- As the first and only LGBTQ member of the Aurora City Council, Ms. Coombs feels strongly about voicing her support for her Black neighbors and constituents.
- At a time when Elijah McClain’s family still has not received justice, when trans women are being gunned down by State Patrol Officers, and when police across the nation have responded to historic civil rights protests with brutal violence, it is a shame to see our local officers wasting time on a Facebook post.
- The homophobic and threatening messages Ms. Coombs has received speak to how far gone police culture really is. Our Black neighbors face worse every day.
- Police engaging in retaliatory harassment against an elected official who dares to stand up for justice shows why the vast majority of Americans want to see real action taken to demilitarize and defund police forces nationwide.
- Using threats and intimidation to stymie progress is un-democratic and un-American. We must all resist a group that feels it has the right to kill without oversight or consequence.
Complaints about tone, decorum, and civility are just distractions to prevent real action from being taken. Injustice is injustice, no matter how sweetly it’s whispered. Justice is justice no matter how coarsely it’s shouted. Alison Coombs will not be quiet about injustice, and will not stop fighting for her Black siblings.