By Tori Mason

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– A CU Boulder police officer has been placed on administrative leave following allegations of racism and anti-Semitism. Campus police announced an internal affairs investigation into Officer Drew Matthews after a local group discovered offensive posts made by the officer on social media.

CU Boulder Police (credit: CBS)

On April 11, SAFE Boulder tweeted:

“We found the Reddit account of University of Colorado Boulder Police Department Officer Drew Matthews and it’s full of anti-homeless and anti-Black comments, including a call to attack homeless people with high-pressure fire hoses.”

“He then posted ‘at least they’re getting a bath out of it,’” said SAFE Boulder member, Emerson Book.

A screenshot taken from the account shows a post that reads: “Hey they are getting a bath at the minimum.”

The Twitter thread of Reddit screenshots includes other posts referring to the unhoused community.

Book told CBS4 he first noticed hateful posts on Matthews’ account via the r/Boulder sub-Reddit in early 2020. Book and other members of SAFE Boulder were able to connect the officer’s Reddit account to his personal Facebook profile.

“It’s especially disappointing because it’s clear these attitudes are fueling his work as a police officer. He regularly refers to homeless people as bums and drug addicts,” said Book. “He talks about how he trespassed this bum because the manager of a store wanted him to.”

Another screenshot highlights a Reddit post comparing a business’ vaccine mandate to the genocide of Jewish people, writing “If people told you to wear a star on your shirt you’d do it.”

“There should be no tolerance for racism. Also, the anti-Semitism equating a private business’ vaccine mandate to the Holocaust is absolutely reprehensible and has been rightly condemned by a number of Jewish and Holocaust Remembrance groups,” said Book.
Matthews has been a member of the department since 2015.

CU Boulder and CU Boulder Police say they are aware of the allegations. The officer was placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation and will have no police authority while on leave.

Book believes the officer shouldn’t be allowed back on the force.

“I think it really should call into question all of the tickets and arrests that he’s made of people experiencing homelessness,” said Book. “I will add that violent workers don’t make our campuses safe. If we really want to think about safety, we need to think about getting these armed thugs off our campuses.”

In a statement to CBS4, CUPD says:

“The posts highlighted are offensive and reprehensible. These allegations have been referred to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) and to CUPD’s professional standards unit for investigation.”

Chief Doreen Jokerst added:

“We would like to thank members of our community for bringing this to our attention. CUPD takes allegations of this nature very seriously. We are taking immediate action to conduct an internal investigation. The officer in question is being placed on paid administrative leave.”

CUPD says anyone who would like to share information or discuss addressing such conduct can contact OIEC at 303-492-2127 or cureport@colorado.edu or the CU Police Department internal affairs section at 303-492-6666.

Tori Mason