Boulder Police

Special Counsel’s Independent Review of the March 1, 2019 Police Incident

Posted on 05/22/2019 at 09:21 pm
Shannon Aulabaugh

On March 25, 2019, the City of Boulder retained Bob Troyer as Special Counsel to conduct a thorough and independent review of the Boulder Police Department's Internal Affairs Investigation of an interaction on March 1, 2019 between Zayd Atkinson and Boulder Police officers. Mr. Troyer has practiced law for over 28 years, 14 of those years as a federal prosecutor and over two years as the United States Attorney for the District of Colorado. Assisting Troyer were Michael Rankin and Robert Evans, both former FBI Special Agents and Assistant Special-Agents-in-Charge. Mr. Troyer was recommended by Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney for Mr. Atkinson.

The independent investigation in the March 1 incident concluded:

  • The Boulder Police Department (BPD) internal affairs investigation met or exceeded national standards.
  • No evidence of racial profiling was found. There also is no evidence that any of the officers responded because of Mr. Atkinson’s race or that the large number of officers was the result of his race.
  • No officer pointed any weapon of any type at Mr. Atkinson at any time during the incident. All video evidence confirmed no weapon was pointed at Mr. Atkinson.
  • Evidence shows that Officer Smyly violated two General Orders

The review of the Professional Standards Unit’s investigation concluded:

  • The investigation was conducted in a competent, independent, and professional manner.
  • There is no indication that the investigation was subjected to any outside influence or the product of any bias.
  • The resulting disciplinary recommendations were appropriate based on the evidence.
  • “Referring to the BPD internal affairs review process the report says ‘We also know from our experience that reliable, impartial internal-affairs processes can be hard to come by. They are precious, and they are very hard to repair once broken. We offer these observations so that the City does not take action that inadvertently and irretrievably breaks a system that did not need fixing.’”

The full independent report is available at https://bouldercolorado.gov/march1-police-incident.