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NAACP statement on Daily Camera opinion pieces regarding Boulder Police

NAACP statement on Daily Camera opinion pieces regarding Boulder Police


Dear Mr. Garrison,

While you sat on our guest opinion piece, which was carefully vetted and, like all of our statements, has included citations as a basis for every claim we’ve made about Deputy Chief Redfearn, city staff and government officials have been able to repeat their false claims that the facts are on their side. Not only that, but Sean Maher was able to use his column space to make a backhanded attack on “minorities” in Boulder in his October 24th “Opinion Column”:

Since 2019, our police officers have been vilified by a vocal minority in Boulder while our municipal court seems to be paralyzed. The result seems to have been a sharp drop in enforcement and deterrence.

While “a vocal minority” is common lexicon, I was of the belief when I read it that what he really meant was at least in part referring to the NAACP Boulder County Branch’s call for Redfearn to resign. Having now done a CORA request, I can confirm that he wrote directly to Redfearn to let him know he intended to use his opinion column to defend Redfearn because he had “just read the article about the NAACP and it honestly makes me sick.”

You can choose to keep allowing Maher an outsized voice in the paper, that is your choice. But silencing us by delaying or refusing to publish our opinion, when nothing we have stated is even close to lacking in citations or being based in fact, is truly disturbing.

It is also disturbing that Ms. Carlson, in her recent front page article, misrepresented the following: “However, according to court records, Redfearn and the other officers were dismissed as defendants on the case before the settlement occurred.” The order dismissing Redfearn and the other officers issued on the very same day the Notice of Settlement issued:


What Ms. Carlson wrote was a lie of omission (notice for the settlement and dismissal of Redfearn as a party were done on the same day), giving credence to the city of Boulder’s arguments and making them sound like facts. Dismissing defendants to a case ahead of a settlement or near the date of a settlement is common practice in lawsuits, as part of the settlement process.

While I personally like Ms. Carlson, I cannot ignore her misrepresentation about the details of a federal case that, by making false assertions or, if I’m generous, ignorant claims about the case proceedings, undermine the NAACP Boulder County Branch’s credibility. And allowing Maher and Redfearn to publish opinion pieces while shutting down ours should undermine the credibility of the Daily Camera. Please, sincerely, tell me how these acts shouldn’t lead me to accurately conclude you have picked a side and have chosen to silence the voice of the oldest civil rights organization in the country?

It is incredibly disheartening to see the Daily Camera behave in this way. I have appreciated many of your own opinion pieces, and have appreciated Ms. Carlson’s journalism. But issues of policing deserve the highest level of objective public scrutiny, and the Daily Camera’s actions have made that  next to impossible by misrepresenting facts, and by allowing those who empathise with Redfearn to publish opinions while shutting ours out.

This should be beneath you.


Darren O’Connor, Esq.

NAACP Boulder County Branch Criminal Justice Committee Chair

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