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A day for remembering transgender victims

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed every Nov. 20, to honor victims and draw attention to the high rate of violence against transgender people. Transgender women in general, and transgender women of color in particular, are known to be frequent victims of violence, though it's difficult to quantify the crimes. Various organizations, from the Advocate to GLAAD, attempt to document murdered transgender people, but victims are often misgendered, making accurate tracking impossible.

However, in November 2015 the Human Rights Campaign and Trans People of Color Coalition released a report documenting violence facing transgender people. It noted that at least 21 transgender people had been killed at that point in 2015. That's a record number for a single year, and it means more individuals were killed in the first six months of 2015 than in all of 2014.

A 2014 study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute also found that 41 percent of transgender and gender-nonconforming people attempt suicide at some point in their lives compared with just 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population. Discrimination, harassment, violence and rejection are thought to contribute to the high rates.

In Colorado Springs, the Day of Remembrance will be observed on Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, at 730 N. Tejon St. The public is welcome to attend. — JAS

Police shoot local attorney

Hospitalized in critical but stable condition, Dana Bruce Ott, 63, was charged on Monday with five counts of felony menacing and domestic violence in connection with being shot by Colorado Springs police officers on his residential street on Nov. 10.

The city identified the two officers who fired at Ott as Matthew Peterson and Derek Wilson.

Officers had responded to a disturbance, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the incident — the third shooting by police in the last two months.

On Sept. 24, a Fountain police officer shot and killed a 17-year-old boy, who was reportedly armed with a gun. And on Halloween morning four Springs officers shot at Noah Harpham after he killed three people that day. Harpham was killed by a single fatal shot, authorities have said.

The Sheriff's Office has submitted its report on the Fountain shooting to the District Attorney's Office, which is awaiting forensic testing before it decides if the shooting was justified, says DA spokeswoman Lee Richards. The DA's Office hasn't received reports from the Sheriff's Office on the other two shootings, she says.

None of the incidents were recorded by police body cameras. — PZ

Colorado kids not making the grade

Colorado results are in from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers standardized test (PARCC), and they aren't encouraging.

A Chalkbeat Colorado analysis found that, in language arts, only 43 percent of Colorado fourth graders were meeting or exceeding expectations, though they were the highest-scoring grade level. On the low end, 37 percent of 10th graders made the grade.

Math scores were even worse. On the low end, about 19 percent of 8th graders passed. On the high end, 37 percent of third graders met or exceeded expectations.

Attendance was also poor, partially as a result of tens of thousands of high schoolers "opting out" of the test. Chalkbeat put participation rates at 82 percent in English language arts and 85 percent in math.

The PARCC is the latest standardized test to be used in Colorado, and differs from the classic bubble tests of yore, asking more sophisticated questions that are intended to spur critical thinking. However, it has been widely criticized for what some feel are confusing questions, and some schools and districts experienced technical problems when trying to give the test in an online format. — JAS

Heroes in blue

A dozen Colorado Springs police officers were awarded the Medal of Valor on Monday for three separate incidents.

Sgt. Chris Arseneau and Officers Mike Anderson, Dan Carter, Shawn Compton and Shawn Mahon were recognized for risking bodily injury and death to diffuse a booby-trapped house in Chaffee County on Sept. 12, 2014.

Officers Matthew Kerr, Christopher Laabs, Ernest Ohle, Tracy Speight, David Tapia and Jeremiah Ward won the award for responding to a report of a stabbing on Nov. 30, 2014. They entered a burning house to help rescue someone inside.

Officer Jimmy Paladino was hailed for his March 29, 2015, off-duty rescue of two people from a burning home, one of whom fought the removal even as the fire blazed around them.

Two other officers — Ryan Knapp and Sam Whittaker — received the Distinguished Service Medal. — PZ

click to enlarge The La Veta Way trailhead was the launching point in the Quiros search. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • The La Veta Way trailhead was the launching point in the Quiros search.

"Tailboard," but no report, for Quiros search

After efforts to locate Ksenia Quiros failed in April and the suicidal woman was found dead on a wilderness slope, Colorado Springs Fire Department conducted a "tailboard critique" of its efforts to find her, says Deputy Chief Steve Dubay. But a written report isn't available, because the department didn't complete one.

Quiros, 45, who had recently lost her son to suicide, hiked into the Stratton Open Space on April 15 and was found dead April 18 about two miles away. The search, which involved intermittant help from the well-trained El Paso County Search and Rescue, was hindered by a spring snow storm ("As I lay dying," June 24, 2015).

"We frequently conduct informal, verbal, 'tailboard critiques' immediately after incidents to simply ask, 'how did it go? What can we do better in the future,'" Dubay says, via a city spokesperson. "These are rarely documented in writing because they are simple activities that occur with great frequency throughout the organization on a routine basis. In this case, there was nothing that the individual incident commanders identified that caused any of our operations to rise to the level of a formal after-action review." — PZ

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