After protest, Broncos LB Brandon Marshall meets with DPD chief

9NEWS @ 5. 9/13/2016

DENVER - Even after losing endorsements for kneeling during the national anthem, Broncos Linebacker Brandon Marshall is continuing the conversation about what he calls social injustice.

Tuesday, he met with Denver Police Chief Robert White at DPD headquarters for about 45 minutes.

White said Broncos management reached out to arrange the meeting.

"I'm sure he has an agenda for why he wanted to do it, but let me tell you why I wanted to do it," White said. "It gave me an opportunity to listen to somebody else, who has a voice, and that can impact other individuals as it relates to what their concerns are. But equally as important it gave me the opportunity talk about the good work that the men and women are doing in our police department and across this country."

On Twitter Monday, Marshall solicited questions from the public. White said Marshall asked about police accountability not just here, but nationwide.

"Those that are really questioning what we do, many of them are asking just because our actions are legal, are they really necessary?" White said.  "And then I went on to explain to him that our police department is working to address that."

A 9Wants to Know review of roughly 200,000 records shows  26 percent of arrests and citations in Denver were of people who are black, even though black people account for only 11 percent of the population. 

Roshan Bliss of the Denver Justice Project, a group that advocates for change in law enforcement, said the data may show police are acting on a stereotype.

"What I take from that is the stereotype of black people as criminals continues to be pervasive in our society," he said.

"We are seeing just an expression of stereotypes and sort of narratives that are told about black and brown communities expressed through the police force," Bliss said.

9WTK spoke one-on-one with White to learn what the data reflects about the experience on the street.

He called it a complex question to which he doesn't have all of the answers.

"From a police perspective, we allocate resources where the issues and the challenges are," White said.

"If the challenges in some of our communities are communities of color, and that's predominantly where those issues are, that's where we're going to put our resources. And as a result of putting resources there, you're going to get the arrests."

Both Bliss and White agree crime and race pose a challenge not just for police, but for the community as a whole. 

"It's not about just the police," Bliss said. "It's about our government, our society, has dis-invested from black and brown neighborhoods that has made those crime levels so high."

White said Denver's apparent disparity is not unique, and noted that high crime areas are also high victim areas.  He added that DPD will eventually collect data about all stops.

"Why are we making stops here?" White said. "What's driving those stops? What's the result as it relates to those stops?"

Denver police are currently developing the policy for data collection.

Bliss said the Denver Justice Project supports Marshall's decision to kneel during the national anthem.

"He's using his First Amendment right, using his large platform about a pressing issue that has risen to crisis levels in our country," Bliss said.

"There's this sort of intellectual understanding that yes, there are black and brown people being hurt by police, but it's really filling in the gap of what that means for your every day experience just walking down the street."

White said he supports Marshall's right to free speech, "Whether I agree or disagree is totally irrelevant," White said. 

When asked if he was endorsing Marshall's protest by taking the meeting, White said giving his time was not an endorsement. 

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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