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SABA Colorado Statement on Birendra Thakuri Shooting

Wednesday, September 26, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Anjula Singh
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September 26, 2018
It is with great sadness that the South Asian Bar Association of Colorado (SABA-CO) learned of the officer-involved shooting and death of a reportedly unarmed 27-year-old Nepali man, Birendra Thakuri, on August 25, 2018 in Westminster, CO.  We extend our heartfelt support and condolences to Mr. Thakuri’s family for their unmeasurable loss.  In equal measure, we express our extreme discomfort and concern to the Colorado’s law enforcement personnel, who felt the need to use deadly force with yet another unarmed person of color. 
In these fragile times, when such violence only fuels further racial tensions, the use of deadly force must be an absolute last resort, and not an instinctual choice whenever a police officer feels threatened.  We must hold our law enforcement personnel accountable for their actions and demand a thorough, extensive, and transparent investigation in light of the serious consequences that follow these tragic encounters.  For such investigations to be truly complete, they must explicitly acknowledge the critical role that mental health disorders play in the underlying behavior of individuals who come in contact with law enforcement.   
SABA-CO has followed up with Adams County District Attorney Dave Young and Westminster Police Chief Tim Carlson, and learned that a multi-agency Critical Incident Team (CIT) is currently investigating, as is standard protocol, the circumstances of the Westminster Police Department’s encounter with Mr. Thakuri. A report of the matter will be forwarded to the Adams County District Attorney’s Office in several weeks for further review, consistent with the significant reform efforts approved by the Colorado Legislature in 2015 relating to officer-involved shootings.  SABA-CO appreciates DA Young and Chief Carlson’s commitment to thoroughness, transparency, and willingness to engage in discussion regarding the process surrounding investigation of such tragic events. 
We will continue our efforts to engage with public officials on these subjects, and review the District Attorney’s final report on this matter involving Mr. Thakuri when it is released.   Importantly, we will continue to communicate with Colorado’s law enforcement personnel to ensure respect and awareness of the Nepali community’s presence in Colorado, and an understanding of the unique ways in which people of color and immigrant communities interact with law enforcement. 

SABA-CO, as an organization of South Asian attorneys in Colorado with diverse legal practices, seeks to be of service to members of the state’s South Asian community and to advance and protect the rights of immigrant populations through rigorous advocacy, education, and collaboration.