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Residents rally for accountability after attack on CSU student

Members of the Larimer County community refuse to let the Black Lives Matter movement be a short trend, as they are continuously organizing protests for local and national incidents. 

Around 50 people gathered in Civic Center Park Thursday morning to demonstrate the need for accountability regarding the man who held a Colorado State University football player and his co-worker at gunpoint in Loveland, Colorado, on June 11. 

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“We’re out here to encourage the elected officials within the Larimer County Justice Center to ensure that they are not biased and anti-racist,” said Kimberly Chambers, event organizer and owner of NoCo SafeSpace. “It’s important that, when incidents like this happen, we as a community recognize that not only are police officers law enforcement, but also judges and clerks and all of the pieces of due process.”

Chambers also said the rallies would only refer to the man arrested for holding the student at gunpoint by his initials of SG. 

“That’s important to me because we don’t want to give him any more fame than he’s already getting,” Chambers said. “The news media is covering his full name and his history and everything like that. We don’t want to give him that fame at this point.”

A member of the CSU community, who asked to be identified only as Sally Sue, said she wants the football player to know that there are people in Fort Collins who stand with him in solidarity.

“People think it’s so far away, in Minnesota, in St. Louis; this happens everywhere, it’s not just one incident, and obviously it’s a serious situation with the civil unrest that’s going on in the country,” Sally Sue said. 

Both Sally Sue and another local resident, Amanda Shores, said they want the courts to know that the accused’s actions are unacceptable, even if he is mentally ill. 

“It’s unacceptable that this man can have so many guns, and he’s gonna use this excuse of being mentally ill to get off, and I think that’s completely unacceptable,” Shores said.

Chambers told participants that their goal is not to be loud, but to be a presence that reminds elected officials of their accountability. Chambers plans to organize outside the Larimer County Justice Center every time the defendant appears in court.

When a young man can’t just walk through the streets to try to make income and gets weapons pulled on him and pulled onto the ground, enough is enough.” -Robert Batie, Loveland, Colorado, resident

“We won’t have access to a lot of evidence, we won’t have access to a lot of the affidavits, and so we just have to trust that due process is going to set precedence to prevent this from continuing on,” Chambers said. “And so by doing a quiet presence, we’re more effective in that way. As his due process continues, we may get louder.”

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According to a 9News article, the defendant did not appear in court Thursday and currently remains in an in-patient mental health institution. His family placed him in that institution following his arrest, and Larimer County District Judge Carroll Brinegar has scheduled another court hearing for June 25 and stayed the warrant for his arrest while he is in treatment. 

Loveland resident Robert Batie said that he recently went on a trip a few states away and constantly had to be aware of which states would be safe for him to drive through, how he could put his ID cards in a visible space and how closely he was following traffic laws. 

“When a young man can’t just walk through the streets to try to make income and gets weapons pulled on him and pulled onto the ground, enough is enough,” Batie said. “It’s got to stop.”

Batie’s daughter Evyn added that Black Lives Matter conversations and the elevation of Black voices have to continue.

“This isn’t a Black Lives Matter spirit week or a Black Lives Matter spirit month,” Evyn said. “The work continues from here. … It’s not just about (the defendant), it’s about the courts making the right decision at this point and being just as accountable as the police officers are or need to be.”

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb.

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About the Contributor
Serena Bettis
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at editor@collegian.com.

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