On June 27, former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff oversaw a group of volunteers chalking the sidewalk of the government district office of U.S. Representative Mike Coffman in protest over immigration issues. The political protest ended when the building manager, Quyet Dang, arrived in the parking lot and told the crew if they didn’t clean up the chalk he would call the police. The chalking ended almost immediately, but the cleanup took 15-30 minutes, or even longer than that according to some sources. Regardless of how long the cleanup lasted, the tapes show Romanoff leaving before it is finished.
Romanoff is challenging Coffman in the race for the 6th Congressional District.
Footage from security cameras obtained by Complete Colorado confirm eyewitness accounts. While Complete Colorado received independent tips about the incident, the video was ultimately obtained from the Coffman office.
Kelly Maher, director of the conservative organization Compass Colorado, fired off pointed criticism at Romanoff. “I can’t believe he would lead children there for political gain then leave them to clean up his mess, literally.”
Multiple texts, emails, and voicemails to Romanoff’s communications director, Denise Baron, were not returned.
Coffman’s district office is at 3300 S. Parker Road in Aurora, and the building is occupied by several other offices and businesses.
Local press accounts indicate Romanoff was at Coffman’s office. The former Speaker of the House led a group of immigrant students – known as “Dreamers” – on a march on Coffman’s office the day in question. According to a report from the Associated Press, “On Friday (June 27), Romanoff led a group of immigrant youths who would be eligible for Obama’s special immigration dispensation, a group known as dreamers, on a march to Coffman’s district office…”
The report, however did not mention the chalking. The “march” appears to have been no more than eight to 10 people.
Chalking a sidewalk may or may not be a citable offense, and the question could turn on the discretion of the officer or attorney in charge. Lt. Frank Fania with the Aurora Police Department told Complete Colorado by email, “My opinion would be that there are too many variables that may or may not make [chalking a sidewalk] a criminal offense. It would depend on the totality of the incident like where, what was drawn and/or said, did it cause any kind of permanent damage, one time incident or on-going, etc.” Fania also noted the city attorney’s opinion would factor in as well.
Police were not called; no report was filed.
Dang said when he ordered the crew to stop, several of the “Dreamers” said they needed to get their opinion across to Representative Coffman. Speaking in broken English, Dang said he told the protestors, “Yes you do, but not like this.”
In the security camera video, Romanoff can be seen welcoming a new carload of supporters, and can also be seen passing out gallon jugs of water after he and the group of protestors were told by Dang to clean up the chalking. The water jugs were supplied by someone from the Romanoff team, not building management.
The following are video notes for the first video embedded, “Camera 6.” Times cite the embedded 24-hour clock in the upper center area of the security camera footage.
11:18:30, Car pulls in, Romanoff greets them.
11:22:50, Building manager arrives, hastily “parks” and you can see pretty quickly, he starts giving instructions, firm but polite.
11:24:43, Romanoff walks offscreen right.
11:25:43 Romanoff handing out full, one-gallon jugs of water. These came from someone from the Romanoff group, not the building manager.
The following are video notes for both “Camera 2” and “Camera 6.”
34:30, Romanoff moves his Prius to a closer parking spot.
34:52, He comes back in the picture to rejoin the group briefly.
35:22, Romanoff walks back to his car.
35:55, He drives off the lot in his Prius.
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