On Monday, April 11, the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department placed one of its officers on administrative leave after allegations of “offensive and reprehensible” Reddit posts attributed to the officer surfaced online.
Safe Access for Everyone, a housing rights group that advocates for police abolition, posted a blog and lengthy Twitter thread with screenshots that they claim were made by CUPD Officer Drew Matthews.
Many of the comments posted by SAFE disparage Boulder’s homeless population, including a post that read, “the city stinks of transient shit.”
Emerson Book, a member of SAFE, said that the group had been monitoring the account since 2020. During that time, the organization said, they had found a history of racist and anti-Semitic remarks, in addition to comments about unhoused people.
“We noticed the Reddit account posting hateful remarks about unhoused folks on (the) r/Boulder board and then, going through his comments, it became clear he was a campus police officer because he was verified on the ‘Protect and Serve’ board,” Book said.
According to the Protect and Serve subreddit rules, Reddit users must submit a photo of their law enforcement agency credentials in order to be verified on this particular board.
In their posts, SAFE said that they linked the account to Officer Matthews by a photo posted on Reddit and his own personal Facebook page.
In a statement, CUPD Chief Doreen Jokerst said that CUPD would be conducting an internal investigation into the matter.
“We would like to thank members of our community for bringing this to our attention. CUPD takes allegations of this nature very seriously,” the statement read.
The university said that the allegations were referred to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, in addition to CUPD’s own professional standards unit.
Those interested in sharing information about the allegations can contact OIEC at 303-492-2127 or firstname.lastname@example.org and CUPD’s internal affairs section at 303-492-6666.
The university said that Officer Matthews will not have any police authority while on leave.
Editor’s Note: A prior version of this story included an incorrect CUPD phone number. It has since been updated to show the correct contact information.
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