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Boulder Police Officer Who Confronted Student Resigns After Investigation

Body camera footage
Boulder Police Department
Still frame from body camera footage released by Boulder Police. Zayd Atkinson (left) was confronted by multiple police officers on March 1, 2019 while picking up trash outside his home.

A Boulder police officer has resigned following a confrontation with a black college student who was picking up trash in his yard.

The Boulder Police Department concluded an internal investigation on the March 1 incident when officers, two of them with guns drawn, confronted Zayd Atkinson.

The investigation found officer John Smyly violated two department policies and determined:

The subject officer did not have probable cause to charge Mr. Atkinson with any crime. The contact evolved into a stop and detainment that caused multiple officers to respond. The subject officer should have ended his contact with Mr. Atkinson as soon as Mr. Atkinson provided his name, address and a brief explanation of what he was doing.

Smyly resigned before the disciplinary process wrapped up.
Boulder Police released body camera footage from Smyly's camera (warning: contains strong language):

Boulder Police say the process would have likely resulted in suspension or possibly termination. Smyly no longer works for the police department but remains employed by the city until February 2020.

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