Charges of racism have pitted Denver’s Black chief of public safety against an Hispanic city council member with both of them threatening to file formal complaints against the other with the ethics board.

The victim of the racist treatment, by the way, is white.

Public Safety Manager Murphy Robinson says Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca’s Afro Latina staffer refused a meeting with his new city council liaison “because she is not Black or brown.”

That staffer is the socialist Democrat’s former chief of staff Lisa Calderón, who left last month to take over Emerge Colorado as executive director with the mission of getting more women elected to office.

CBS4’s Shaun Boyd reports that Robinson informed the entire city council of the matter and wants both CdeBaca and Calderon to apologize to the staffer.

Robinson, who is Black, called it “inappropriate and offensive” and says he’s “hopeful the lapse in judgment can be overcome.”


“I couldn’t believe that that’s where we’re at today, in a world where people still think it’s okay to discriminate against a person because of the color of their skin. I have personally witnessed that through my career and to have one of my staff members go through some of the same type of things that I’ve gone through, it hit home. I will never tolerate that behavior, I don’t care what position you have or what certificate you hold, I will hold you accountable.”

CdeBaca’s spokesperson said the councilwoman wasn’t aware of the incident, but after Boyd’s report aired CdeBaca demanded Robinson retract his statement and apologize to her. 

If Robinson does not apologize, CdeBaca threatened to file an ethics complaint against him.