We are witnesses to the war waged on people of color in the name of criminal justice.

Our VALUES

WHAT we do.

CAAPV seeks to transform the criminal legal system in fundamental ways rather than by incremental reform by:

  1. dismantling unjust, racist, and violent police, legal, and oppressive systems;

  2. supporting and building truth in justice through anti-racist systems that promote safety and accountability without violence or degradation;

  3. providing information for self-advocacy on the streets, and supporting common sense legislation;

  4. using our legal knowledge to empower impacted communities; and

  5. defending our most targeted and vulnerable community members when they are attacked by police or face unjust legal consequences.

We believe the criminal system – from policing to the courts to incarceration – is a racist and oppressive system that disproportionately enacts a litany of physical, emotional, and psychological violence.

WHO we are.

Colorado Attorneys Against Police Violence (CAAPV) is an organization of attorneys who have either experienced or witnessed the war waged on Black people, Latino people, Indigenous people, and other people of color in the name of criminal justice.  We have seen the failures of police departments to police themselves.  We are tired of government not making meaningful efforts to end systemic racism and oppression.  We are angry at government sanctioned murder at the hands of law enforcement.  We are witnesses to the racist legal system that fails people of color time and time again. 

 

We recognize that we are actors in the very systems we condemn, and therefore not only do we seek to stand in solidarity with communities and community organizers, but above all, seek to listen to those who are directly impacted by this system so we may learn, build trust, accept responsibility, and seek to change when we make mistakes. 

WHY we organized.

Compelled to act and not sit idly by while our family, our friends, and our neighbors’ bodies are sacrificed.  We had originally planned a protest for June 3, 2020.  Through thoughtful and difficult conversation, we connected with community organizers on the ground to ensure people of color and the community were the center as we work to meaningfully offer knowledge and services to those who continue to be brutalized by the hands of Colorado police officers.  We wanted to stand in solidarity, and not co-opt a cause that we care deeply about, a cause we have committed our careers, our resources, and our privilege to combat.

Colorado Attorneys Against Police Violence is an organization that was founded in the aftermath of the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.  We want to use our skillsets and knowledge to stop the carnage of people of color in the criminal justice system.

 

Our DEMANDS

1.

ZERO police killings, now.

Colorado has the 5th highest rate of police killings in the country. People of color are the primary victims of police murder. This is unconscionable and appalling. We demand immediate end to the murder of Colorado residents at the hands of the state.

2.

COPS are not soldiers.

Demilitarize the police immediately. Abolish the use of militarized weapons and tactics. End use of the 1033 program, which allows law enforcement across Colorado to acquire military weapons and equipment from the Department of Defense. Return all weapons and equipment obtained through the 1033 program.

3.

ELIMINATE bias and philosophies of violence.

How can police deescalate a situation if they are trained to view community members (especially people of color) as potential threats rather than people? Abolish all warrior mentality training like "killology." Eliminate bias and systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, and all philosophies of violence.

4.

TAKE responsibility.

Eliminate sections of police union contracts that limit officer responsibility for bad acts. Administrative leave must be without pay when an officer is investigated. Fire officers who violate people's rights and/or commit crimes. Protect people in
the community, not internal bad actors.

5.

INVEST in community.

Stop sending police with guns to address mental health crises, substance abuse issues, homelessness, and domestic violence complaints. Respect and invest in the expertise of community groups and resources who are trained in responding to these emergencies without violence. Divert police funding into these resources as well as proactive services like education, social services, and treatment.

6.

LET kids be kids!

Unchain our children from the shackles of the criminal legal system, remove police from schools, end the use of electronic surveillance of kids, and abolish the practice of charging children as adults.

7.

STOP secret surveillance.

Police use military-grade surveillance to monitor civilians in the streets and online, without our knowledge. Police must notify the public about all surveillance tools currently in use, tools it intends to purchase (i.e. facial recognition technology, social media surveillance software, predictive policing algorithms, stingray cell phone interceptors), and how it uses or intends to use these tools. Police must obtain permission from the public before such purchase and use.

8.

NO digital prisons.*

Electronic monitoring (ankle monitors) is presented as an alternative to incarceration.  Risk Assessment Tools (RAT) are presented as a means to make pretrial detention decisions fairer.  But in reality, electronic monitoring is simply another form of incarceration, a digital prison.  And risk assessment tools have been proven to be biased based on race and wealth.  End the use of electronic monitoring and risk assessment algorithms in the pretrial system.

*Phrase borrowed from Media Justice. Check out their Mapping Pretrial Injustice project.

9.

END for-profit policing and the extortion of Colorado residents.

Abolish policies and practices that disproportionately target and devastate our most financially vulnerable systems.  These policies and practices include the use of money bail, private prisons, civil forfeiture, private contractor bills, drug testing fees, and other unjust fees on the incarcerated and those under supervision.

 
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