Barrentine cited for alleged harassment, disorderly conduct

District 3 city councilmember charged over incident that followed meeting

Posted 10/20/18

Englewood City Councilmember Laurett Barrentine received a court summons on charges of harassment and disorderly conduct for an incident alleged to have occurred Aug. 27, according to the …

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Barrentine cited for alleged harassment, disorderly conduct

District 3 city councilmember charged over incident that followed meeting

Posted
Englewood City Councilmember Laurett Barrentine received a court summons on charges of harassment and disorderly conduct for an incident alleged to have occurred Aug. 27, according to the summons.
 
The altercation reportedly happened about 10:30 p.m. at the Englewood Civic Center, said the summons, which was released by the Englewood Police Department in response to a records request by the Englewood Herald. The city council held a study session, a public meeting, that night at the civic center, beginning at 6 p.m., according to the agenda. The meeting ran about 4 1/2 hours, according to the meeting video.
 
Details surrounding Barrentine's suspected violations are scant because the police report in the case is considered evidence and not available for release to the public while the case is open, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office. In a felony case, details would be available in an affidavit, or a document stating the basis for an arrest, but Barrentine's cited violations would be petty offenses or misdemeanors, according to the summons.
 
Englewood police are not able to release any further information due to the case being turned over to the DA's office, said Investigator Scot Allen, spokesman for the police, on Oct. 16.
 
Barrentine declined to comment on the incident Oct. 16.
 
“I've hired an attorney, so I don't think I'm going to discuss that,” Barrentine said.
 
Closed-door meeting in dispute
 
During the Aug. 27 meeting, Barrentine asked if records of an executive session of the council — a closed-door meeting often used to discuss matters the city deems to require confidentiality — had been destroyed. A voice that appears to be that of City Clerk Stephanie Carlile, not pictured in the recording of the Aug. 27 meeting, can be heard telling Barrentine that records are destroyed every 90 days. She asked Barrentine what the date is of the meeting in question, and Barrentine said she didn't know. The clerk's office said on Oct. 22 that the meeting Barrentine referred to occurred May 7.
 
“But there was a protest made at the time of it,” Barrentine told Carlile. “When there's a protest made of an executive session, (records are) not supposed to be destroyed.”
 
Barrentine said her protest was not reflected in the minutes — the written record — of the earlier meeting. She had protested during the meeting and afterward in public, she said.
 
“A third councilmember is claiming that the executive session was not appropriate, and I said I would check and find out,” Barrentine said.
 
The clerk's office on Oct. 22 said not all events in a meeting appear in the minutes, and that an examination of the session would require more than a councilmember's statement.
 
"Any statement made during the regular meeting would have been recorded on the video tape, but only action items appear in the officially adopted minutes of the city," unless a councilmember requests to have a non-action item added to the minutes prior to approval, said Jackie McKinnon, deputy clerk, on Oct. 22.
 
State law "does not provide for a governmental body or a recording clerk to take a special action in response to a single councilmember’s complaint about an executive session," McKinnon said, referring to state statute 24-72-204 (5.5) (a). A memorandum from the city attorney to the council Aug. 28 said executive-session recordings are maintained for 90 days by the clerk unless the city receives a formal notice of intent to pursue legal action. If that happens, the city attorney's office takes custody of the recording to maintain it for evidentiary purposes, the memo said.
 
Record of a public body's executive session can be "subject to discovery in (an) administrative or judicial proceeding," but it requires consent of the body, or an argument to a district court by a person seeking access to the record, according to state law the clerk's office noted.
 
Confrontations arise
 
In a September interview, former City Manager Eric Keck, who stepped down Oct. 5, said he was told about a confrontation involving Barrentine and Carlile.
 
“I had left the meeting at that time,” Keck said. “I was told by another employee I needed to go back (downstairs) … clearly, the clerk had been visibly shaken.”
 
Carlile did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.
 
Mayor Linda Olson said she could not answer questions on the incident and whether it stemmed from Barrentine accusing Carlile of improperly destroying records of an executive session from May.
 
“I really cannot offer any perspective on this at this time,” Olson said.
 
In another recent incident, Barrentine reportedly yelled at Councilmember Cheryl Wink and followed her into a lobby from the city council meeting chambers on May 7, according to an Englewood police report provided after a records request by the Herald. Wink requested an extra police patrol near her home afterward, the report said.
 
According to the report:
 
Wink said that at a city council meeting that night, she mentioned “concerns from citizens in the community” about Barrentine, in a “special session meeting,” a likely reference to the May 7 executive session.
 
Barrentine became upset and yelled that no one had told her those things, Wink said. Barrentine followed her out of the meeting chambers into the second-floor lobby and continued to yell, she said. Wink said to the best of her knowledge, Barrentine “did not make any direct threats.”
 
Wink said she did not feel safe, though, and asked for extra patrols around her home during the night. An officer sent out an announcement to on-duty officers and requested they conduct extra patrols around Wink's home throughout the night.
 
In an Aug. 24 interview, Barrentine said she “wouldn't do a thing” to hurt Wink or their relationship and that she didn't recall the altercation.
 
“I don't remember it at all,” Barrentine said. “I never was contacted by the police. The first time I knew about it was a week ago.”
 
For the Aug. 27 incident, Barrentine has a court appearance set for Nov. 9 in Arapahoe County Combined Court, according to the summons.
 
Despite the summons listing Aug. 27 as the date of the incident, police issued the summons a month later on Sept. 26. That was the final day absentee ballots could be received by the city for the Sept. 18 recall election to decide whether Barrentine would keep her seat on city council. The election fell in Barrentine's favor by a narrow margin of 48 votes, or 3 percentage points, according to official results Sept. 27.

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