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Denver police investigate burnt campaign literature

November 6, 2018

DENVER (AP) — It was a smoldering pile of campaign fliers his wife found on their front porch but Jumoke Emery said it might as well have been a burning cross.

Emery, a leading proponent of a ballot measure to remove a reference to slavery in the Colorado Constitution, said that he believes the burned door hanger-style placards in support of the measure, discovered by his wife Monday afternoon, were intended to scare him and his family because of their work on the measure.

“As far as I’m concerned, someone may have burned a cross on my front lawn. This is a clear case of terrorism and intimidation,” Emery, who is black, said Tuesday.

Denver police spokeswoman Christine Downs said the burned fliers were reported to police and that detectives who specialize in anti-bias crimes were investigating.

Mirroring the language of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery overall, Colorado’s Constitution currently allows slavery or involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime. Voters are being asked for a second time to get rid of that exception after the first attempt narrowly failed in 2016 despite being sent to the ballot unanimously by state lawmakers.

The language and guidance to voters was confusing and this time Emery and other backers made sure the language was more clear and also launched a statewide campaign. Emery said backers went door-to-door around Colorado and distributed door hangers just like the ones burned on his porch in favor of Amendment A.

“This is a historical evil that still lives in a historical document and deserves to be obliterated to the dark corners of history,” he said.

The effort has gained more national attention this time. Emery said he hopes a win will open the door to a conversation about the wording of the 13th Amendment too.

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