An online petition asking the Regional Transportation District to end its contract with Allied Universal has gotten more than 3,000 signatures. The motivation for the request was an April 2018 incident in which one of the company’s security guards beat a man in a Union Station bathroom, causing him brain damage.
“They have outsourced their liability by subcontracting a company,” said Jeff Campbell, referring to RTD at a press conference on Tuesday outside of the station. Campbell is the chair of Justice for Raverro, a campaign that advocates for ending the security contract and compensating artist Raverro Stinnett for his injuries.
According to The Denver Post, Stinnett, a Black artist, was coming home from a gala early in the morning when security guards confronted him multiple times, telling him there was a time limit on how long he could wait for his train. Stinnett, who had not reached the time limit, moved throughout the bus concourse. One of the officers, James Hunter, told Stinnett to go into the bathroom. Hunter followed him and beat him unconscious.
Three other guards knew of the confrontation but did not intervene. Hunter and two others pleaded guilty to criminal charges and the fourth was not charged after cooperating with police.
At the time, Pauletta Tonilas, RTD’s assistant general manager for communications, said, “When this happened, obviously we were very upset by this,” The Post reported. “We did an investigation right away. We insisted these officers be fired, and they were.”
At the press conference, RTD Director Shontel M. Lewis, District B, explained that “we know that for Black communities, Indigenous communities, brown communities, immigrant communities, we know that safety does not equate to the police.”
Lewis drafted a resolution in June to wind down the transit agency’s contract. She said that the board chair has committed to work with her on transitioning away from armed police toward “transit ambassadors” who are trained in areas other than use of physical force.
Stinnett told CPR that he believes he was the subject of a racist attack because the guards that night asked no other person to leave. Qusair Mohamedbhai, Stinnett’s attorney, spoke to the damage done to his client as a result of the assault.
“Sometimes Raverro comes into my office — and I have seen this man probably 300 times in the last two years — and he asks me who I am. What’s my name? It breaks my heart,” he said.