Five Bullets, One Gun, and The Struggle to Save an American Neighborhood

December 5, 2022

Colorado Public Radio: “The Holly” Shines Light on Corruption

In a town where the top news station employed the wife of an ATF agent to cover stories he was connected to, there’s been no shortage of odd and absent coverage of THE HOLLY. But thanks to Colorado Public Radio and CBS4 News Denver for spotlighting the corruption captured on camera in the film (and further documented in the book.)

My reporting discovered that the City of Denver hired active gang members to work as “anti-gang” workers in its federally funded effort that replaced the one run by Terrance Roberts (who left his position after the shooting incident at the heart of the book and film.) While this was a major scandal in the community, reporting on the new program repeatedly identified these men as “former gang members.” One of them was arrested and eventually convicted for selling drugs while working for the program and also turned out to be involved in a plot to attack Terrance Roberts, which plays out on camera in the film. The book uncovers further details of informants who were working with federal law enforcement in violation of DOJ guidelines. The connection between these men, powerful politicians and both street violence and politically connected violence, is particularly disturbing. It was equally disturbing if not surprising to have my life threatened for bringing this story to light.

Listen to the Colorado Public Radio piece here, which also links to my Open Letter to Mayor Michael Hancock and other officials, outlining the corruption. Mayor Hancock and Police Chief Ron Thomas were the only top officials who did not respond to the letter at all. Later, Mayor Hancock claimed to Channel 7 that he had “never heard” of the film and that the allegations sounded “absurd.”

Watch the Channel 4 piece here.