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Racist hacker takes over virtual town hall on ‘reimagining policing’ in Denver

Music with racial slurs began taking over people trying to speak.

DENVER, Colorado — A hacker took over a virtual town hall Tuesday night hosted by the Denver Citizen Oversight Board to get Denverite’s input on "reimagining policing.''

About 40 minutes into the meeting, after a number of community members spoke up about what they would like to see in a city’s police department, the text chat of the Zoom call became flooded with racial slurs and statements like, “KEEP COLORADO WHITE.” Videos of half-naked white men popped up on the screen at least twice. Music with racial slurs began taking over people trying to speak.

The meeting organizers ultimately got the issue under control. The moderators, clearly disturbed by what had transpired, questioned continuing the meeting. Instead, they decided to move forward without the previously planned breakout sessions. The number of participants dropped off after the incident.

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Much of the productive conversations gave community members a chance to share their ideas for the future of the Denver Police Department. Some called for increased training. One resident suggested officers obtain an associate's or bachelor’s degree in policing. Others focused on mental health. There were also calls to reduce police budgets.

““They need to defund the police department, put money back in educating those people that’ve been put in jail, robbing and stealing because they can’t afford to have a decent life,” said community member Sharon Faragalla. “They need to be trained and able to get into the job market. We need to make right what the wrongs have been. That’s all I have to say.”

Board Chairwoman, Katina Banks and other non-government leaders moderating the meeting shared a Google Docs link so those who could not share their ideas had a chance to weigh in. This was the first of a series of meetings.

They would like to seat the task force and get to work by early August.

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