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11 Reasons to Love Denver

Reasons to Love Denver: Mayor Michael Hancock

The man tasked with leading police reform in Denver knows of what he speaks.

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If it were to end today, the story of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s career as an elected official would begin with police officers killing a Black man, and it would end that way, too. In July 2003, the same month Hancock joined the Denver City Council, officers fatally shot Paul Childs, a developmentally disabled 15-year-old in Northeast Park Hill. Nearly two decades later, cops in Minneapolis killed George Floyd. The prologue to this tale would include Hancock’s own profiling by police when, as a teenager, he was pulled over while driving his 1982 Pontiac Firebird in Cherry Creek. The officer told him he’d been stopped, Hancock told 5280 in 2015, for “driving in this neighborhood. In this car. And you’re Black.” Before being a mayor, Hancock says, he is an African American man: “I can’t change that, nor do I want to. I am proud of who I am. When I see injustice anywhere, I believe I have a duty to stand up and speak about that injustice and try to right it.” Addressing the wrongs Black people have faced in this city is too Herculean a task for any one man to accomplish. But as we begin the process of finding justice for Denver’s Black community, it’s comforting to know the man leading us knows of what he speaks.

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