Police in the US state of Colorado have launched an internal investigation following an incident where police officers confronted a man picking up trash on his front lawn.
In a video of the March 1 incident taken by a neighbour and widely shared on social media, the man is seen confronting three police officers, including one who had his gun drawn.
The man repeatedly tells the officers that he lived at the apartment complex, was simply picking up trash and was not armed. He also shows the officers his university ID.
“I don’t have a weapon. This is a bucket, this is a clamp,” the man angrily says, showing the items he was using to pick up garbage.
“You’re on my property with a gun in your hand threatening to shoot me because I’m picking up trash?” he is heard screaming in the 16-minute video posted on YouTube.
One officer tells the man to “just relax” while another orders him to drop the “weapon” and sit on the ground.
The video was shared on Facebook by Vanardo Merchant, a friend of the man in the video from inside their house.
On Facebook, where he shared the video, Merchant wrote that he started filming after the interaction began.
He also wrote that, “Zayd (the man in the video) is picking up garage outside of our home and 8 police officers pull up on him with guns (threatening) to shot him telling him to put down the “weapon” [a bucket & garbage claps]”.
In a statement issued earlier this week, the Boulder police department said the man, who has not been identified, was questioned after he was spotted in a partially enclosed patio area to “determine if he was allowed to be on the property”.
It said that the officer who initiated contact had called for backup, indicating that the man was “uncooperative and unwilling to put down a blunt object.”
“The object the man was holding was used to pick up trash,” the statement added. “Officers ultimately determined that the man had a legal right to be on the property and returned the man’s school identification card.”
Boulder Police Department stated on their website that they launched an internal affairs investigation over the incident.
It said a review of the incident would take between 60 to 90 days.
“This is an extremely concerning issue, and one that we are taking very seriously,” Police Chief Greg Tesla told a local council meeting on Tuesday.
Many who attended the meeting held metal trash grabbers and others carried signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and “Doing Yard Work While Black”.