It took 10 years to apologize.
But it was Friday evening when Denver Zoo President Bert Wescolani looked Gail Waters in the eye and offered condolences at the zoo on the death of his son, Alonso Ashley, at the hands of Denver police officers.
“We are very sorry for that,” Wesclane said.
As the zoo nears its end and as the animals build their nests for the night, zoo officials do what Ashley’s family and community workers have been demanding for years – accept responsibility and edit. ۔ Apologizing, Vesculani unveiled a plaque with a picture of Ashley, a brief description of Ashley’s character, and a Bible verse. A new water fountain built in Ashley’s memory and a plaque will be placed near the cooling station.
For Denver community workers, this is the first time in their memory that an organization has erected a public memorial for someone killed by police and offered a public apology.
“What we’re doing today is memorable towards accountability,” Lando said.
On July 18, 2011, 29-year-old Ashley was visiting the Denver Zoo with his girlfriend’s family when he started exhibiting strange behavior and ran to find a spring. A zoo volunteer called the police, who dealt with Ashley and startled her with a teaser.
Of Coroner’s report He said that during the fight, Ashley was placed face down on the ground with her hands tied behind her back and her legs crossed and she was twisted and pushed towards her hips. He began to tremble and stopped breathing before the paramedics arrived. The coroner called Ashley’s death a homicide and said she died of a heart attack caused by heat, dehydration and hard work during the struggle.
The eight officers involved in Ashley’s death were cleared of wrongdoing by the Denver District Attorney’s Office and faced no charges. disciplinary action From the Denver Police Department in 2016, Denver paid Ashley’s family 29 295,000 to settle a lawsuit, but for years the Denver Zoo has refused to accept any responsibility for the death.
Ashley’s death was due to police protests, and the Zoo officials were asked to respond to their staff members and volunteers that they failed to recognize that Ashley was in trouble and was not a threat to the public. ۔ Many members of Denver’s black community boycotted the zoo.
For years, members of the Denver Justice Project have visited the zoo on Ashley’s death anniversary to remind people of what happened. Over the years, zoo officials have asked them to leave the zoo’s plaza, then the parking lot, and eventually the entire property.
Workers never forget.
This year, Helen Rigmedan, a community organizer, made another call to the zoo. This time, a new president was in place, and someone listened to his plea. It brought together Waters, Landau, Reverse Terrence Hughes and others on how the zoo could improve.
They decided to ask for a fountain and a cooling station in Ashley’s honor. On Friday, Rig Maiden said the zoo boycott would end.
“We announce on October 1 that the zoo is open,” he said. This zoo is safe for all of us.
Waters declined to speak at the ceremony but asked his daughter-in-law, Ashley M. Ashley, to talk about it. Ashley remembered her brother-in-law’s contagious laughter, generosity and love for her family. He spoiled his nieces and nephews with lavish gifts and junk food. He never hesitated to help friends and neighbors in need.
“Alonso deserves to live for him and his name,” said Ashley. “It’s more than water for those of us who miss him so much.”