A police officer in Boulder, Colo., has stepped down after a department investigation found he violated two rules when he followed, questioned and threatened to pull a gun on a Black man picking up trash outside his apartment.
Officer John Smyly resigned Wednesday ahead of a planned administrative hearing into his confrontation involving Naropa University student Zayd Atkinson in March, CBS Denver reported. The incident, captured on video, sparked swift outrage and prompted allegations of racial profiling by police.
The Boulder Police Department on Thursday released body camera video, dispatch tapes and a police report related to the incident after wrapping up their internal investigation. It found that while Smyly, who boasted a clean disciplinary record, had violated conduct, police authority and public trust, there was no evidence he racially profiled Atkinson, 26.
The department added that Smyly did not have probable cause to charge the college student with obstructing a police officer, or any other crime.
“The subject officer’s decision to attempt [to] detain Mr. Atkinson was not
supported by reasonable suspicion that Mr. Atkinson was committing, had committed or was about to commit a crime,” according to BPD. “Therefore he did not have authority to detain Mr. Atkinson.”
In a summary of its investigation, the Boulder police wrote that the “officer should’ve ended his contact with Mr. Atkinson after Mr. Atkinson provided his name, address and a brief description of what he was doing.”
Other officers who responded to the incident were cleared of wrongdoing, the report stated.
As for Smyly, the terms of his resignation agreement allow him to remain employed with Boulder Police until Feb. 9, 2020, using his accrued floating holiday leave, sick and permitted administrative leave, according to ABC 7. Smyly is expected to receive $69,000 in that period. He is barred from being reinstated at the department.
Atkinson’s lawyer, Siddhartha Rathod, was less-than-pleased with the agreement and said the city was using taxpayer dollars to reward Smyly for his misconduct.