When Our Own Government Turns Racist

Jeffrey Kass
ZORA
Published in
4 min readSep 22, 2023

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Daily racism, episode №1,245.

senior Black man holding glass of beer while watching championship in sports bar
Image: Shutterstock/Lightfield Studios

Black sports bar owners called me recently to see if I would represent them in a legal matter against a city in Colorado.

The city in question, just outside of Denver, ordered the immediate closure of their sports bar right in the middle of the very busy Denver Nuggets NBA championship run.

The city shut the sports bar down after neighbors called the police a few times in the past year.

Some complained about the noise (which the bar owners addressed by keeping the doors closed).

Another two calls involved shootings, which according to police reports, one was not at the bar, and another call was about some other disturbance.

The bar owners told me one of the complaining white neighbors actually came to the bar and said, “I don’t mind colored people here; I just don’t want trouble.” Circa 2023.

While I don’t practice this type of law, I told the business owners I’d at least call the city attorney as a favor to see if there was a way to resolve the matter so they could reopen their bar and not lose out on what promised to be easily the busiest two weeks of the year.

So I picked up the phone and I kid you not, here was the exchange with the city attorney.

“Good morning. I represent the owners of [ABC] Sports Bar and I was calling about the city’s closure of the bar to see if there was a way to resolve this.”

The city attorney began with an aggressive tone.

“I don’t know what there is to resolve. We have body cam footage.”

I didn’t know what he meant, but it turns out the body cam footage, according to the city attorney, showed the visibly upset bar owners reacting to the city clerk posting a closure notice on the door of the bar.

Then I shared the racist comments from the complaining white neighbor.

“Did you know that at least one of the neighbors who called the police may have had racial motives?” I quoted the “colored people” comment.

The city lawyer raised his voice: “Do you have proof?” he demanded.

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Jeffrey Kass
ZORA

A Medium Top Writer on Racism, Diversity, Education, History and Parenting | Speaker | Award-Winning Author | Latest Book: Black Batwoman V. White Jesus | Dad