DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Public Safety Manager Murphy Robinson says Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca’s former chief of staff refused to meet with his new city council liaison because she’s white. Robinson is filing a formal complaint with the Ethics Board against Lisa Calderon.

Murphy Robinson (credit: CBS)

In a letter to the entire City Council, Robinson didn’t refer to Calderon by name but said, “a city council office declined to meet with (the Government and Community Affairs Manager) because she is not Black or brown.”

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Robinson, who is Black, called it “inappropriate and offensive” and says he’s “hopeful the lapse in judgment can be overcome.”

“I couldn’t believe that that’s where we’re at today, in a world where people still think it’s okay to discriminate against a person because of the color of their skin. I have personally witnessed that through my career and to have one of my staff members go through some of the same type of things that I’ve gone through, it hit home. I will never tolerate that behavior, I don’t care what position you have or what certificate you hold, I will hold you accountable. When things like this happen, not only do we have to take care of them, but we have to understand the consequences of these types of actions and we have to be better than this.”

Candi CdeBaca (credit: CBS)

Robinson says he left a message for CdeBaca but hasn’t heard back.

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He wants CdeBaca and Calderon to apologize to his staff member. CdeBaca’s communications manager says the councilwoman isn’t aware of the incident and, while Robinson says it happened on July 15, she says Calderon left the office for another job the week before that.

Robinson has asked the Denver Human Resources and the Ethics Board to investigate.

UPDATE: After the story was broadcast on CBS4 News at 6:30, CdeBaca responded to CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd with the following statement, “Due to the incredibly reckless, inappropriate, and public nature of Director Robinson’s email and his subsequent on-camera interview repeating this unsubstantiated accusation, I am requesting an equally public retraction of his statement and an apology from him.”

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CdeBaca also told CBS4 that she will file an ethics complaint against Robinson unless he publicly apologizes. She also said neither she nor her staff have ever denied the safety department’s request for a meeting.

Shaun Boyd