DENVER (CBS4) – Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb says he applauds the young people of Denver for protesting peacefully but says it’s clear the country needs a message of hope. It’s what he hoped to hear from President Trump on Monday.
“But instead you’ve got this TV comical figure come out beating his chest saying he’s gonna call out the military now why would you do that?” Wellington said, referencing President Trump.
Webb said with so many impressionable young people stepping out to show support of George Floyd, they need of a message of solidarity, not military action.
“I’m optimistic because America is a tough country. It’s a strong country and cooler heads will prevail and those in leadership will put together a plan,” said Webb.
On day five of protests, CBS4 caught up with Denver Councilman Chris Hinds who represents District 10, downtown.
“This is my first year of my first term of my first time getting elected and so I didn’t start the fire so to speak but it is definitely something that I wanna tackle, that I wanna be an ally for our communities of color and I want there to be accountability too,” said Hinds.
Hinds has been documenting the protests daily and has seen actions from both sides that he says have been frustrating to watch.
On Friday, CBS4 ran into Hinds near 14th Avenue and North Broadway. He was watching as SWAT fired pepper balls at bystanders on a sidewalk.
“I was talking with the police commander over at District 6,” he said.
Hinds was angry and on his phone, hoping to make some sort of impact during the tense situation.
“I was trying to do something and I would like to think that my phone call got SWAT to disengage but really it’s so difficult it’s so difficult for everyone involved,” said Hinds.
When asked about any specific legislation or police reform that may come as a result of what he’s seen, Hinds replied, “If we start trying to create legislation immediately, which is really what people are demanding right now, they want immediate answers but it won’t be solid. It wont withstand the test of time.”
Right now, Hinds says he is simply trying to listen.
“It’s not my cause, I am a white man and so my job is to listen and to understand as best I can and so I’m trying to do that and I hear the frustration, I hear the frustration because this is a systemic issue,” said Hinds. “We need to look at our house of course but it’s the whole system though.”
Webb says he believes it’s an American issue and the most immediate change will come with more civil discourse.
“He’s more than a white guy, he’s an American and he’s and American that lives in Denver and he’s an elected official that lives in Denver and he has a responsibility as well. Everybody has a piece of this there’s nobody,” Webb said. “And if you think you’re not part of it then you’re part of that’s problem.”
Webb also believes in order to heal, all officers involved in the death of George Floyd need to be held accountable.
“We’re all in this together we’re Americans that’s what units us and some people might not like to think that but we’re all Americans and we have to fight together collectively to build a better country,” said Webb.