Facing the possibility of protests at Greenwood Village City Hall on Monday, August 3, Greenwood Village City Council has made its regular meeting scheduled for that day virtual rather than in-person. "We got some information that it could turn disruptive," says Melissa Gallegos, a spokesperson for the city. "To ensure everyone's safety, they decided to move it online."
Things started getting disruptive in Greenwood Village on July 6, when city council unanimously passed a resolution vowing to financially back its law enforcement police officers whenever they're faced with a civil lawsuit. The resolution was an end run around Colorado's new police-reform law that, among other things, created a loophole in the state's governmental immunity law, allowing officers to be personally liable for up to $25,000 in a civil lawsuit if a municipality found that they had acted in bad faith or knowingly committed an illegal act.
Students organized a protest outside of City Hall three days later; on July 20, prominent Colorado musicians Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers and Nathaniel Rateliff joined in a concert protest outside of Greenwood Village City Hall, which then turned into a musical march around the usually sleepy suburb.
According to Gallegos, the city manager and mayor made the decision to take the August 3 meeting online after receiving "information" from the police department. The nature of that information is vague: A handful of Greenwood Village residents, including students, were planning to speak in person about the resolution during the public-comment period of the meeting. Although there were no formal plans for a protest before the meeting, such a protest was possible, according to some of those who planned to speak.
Asked whether the actions at a protest on July 25 in Aurora, where windows of the courthouse were smashed, represented the type of "disruptive" activities that concerned Greenwood Village, Gallegos said "Yes," then added: "You've got peaceful protesters and the ones that may decide to take it up a notch. We just want to make sure that it doesn't turn sour."
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Schultz and Rateliff, as well as other musicians and activists, have vowed to boycott Greenwood Village and Fiddler's Green, a venue in the town that's owned by the Museum of Outdoor Arts, until the resolution has been rescinded.
"At this time, there has not been any discussion about rescinding the resolution," notes Gallegos.
While the meeting will be virtual on August 3, members of the public will be able to send in written comments and pre-recorded statements, both of which will be entered into the record.
Meanwhile, local high school students are organizing another protest outside of Greenwood Village City Hall at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 1.