Colorado police officer resigns after video shows him pulling gun on black man picking up trash

Colorado police officer resigns after video shows him pulling gun on black man picking up trash
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A white Colorado police officer has resigned after being caught on video drawing his gun on a black man who said he was picking up trash at his property.

The city of Boulder said in a statement Thursday that officer John Smyly violated multiple department policies when he confronted Zayd Atkinson, 26, in March. The city added that Smyly resigned before the city concluded an investigation into the incident. 


"While the finding likely would have resulted in suspension or possibly termination, Officer Smyly resigned prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary process," the statement said. 

Smyly's resignation comes more than two months after he and other officers confronted Atkinson, a student at Naropa University, at the patio area of his apartment, according to ABC News

Cellphone footage shot by a neighbor showed Smyly holding his firearm amid the confrontation. Atkinson can be seen holding a bucket and a metal trash grabber. 

Smyly reportedly asked Atkinson if he was permitted to be at the location. Atkinson responded by showing the officer his school identification card and telling him that he lived there.  

Smyly then detained Atkinson for further investigation, which prompted Atkinson to grow frustrated. Atkinson's behavior reportedly led Smyly to radio for backup because the resident was "being uncooperative and unwilling to put down a blunt object," a police statement obtained by ABC News said. 

ABC News noted that other officers arrived on the scene soon after. They left after determining that Atkinson had a right to be on the property.

A police internal affairs report said that Smyly's choice to detain Atkinson was "not supported by reasonable suspicion that Mr. Atkinson was committing, had committed, or was about to commit a crime." 

The city said that an investigation did not find evidence of racial profiling. 

The confrontation between Smyly and Atkinson sparked massive backlash in the community. Atkinson also told ABC News's "Good Morning America" in April that he's been struggling with stress and trauma since the encounter. 

"I thought that once the firearm was out that that meant that he was going to try to kill me," Atkinson said. "It was a frightening experience. I didn't know what else to do besides, you know, to fight with my voice and to practice my rights, which were thoroughly being breached."