Pounding at the podium, Bishop Acen Phillips, a leader in Denver’s black community, said the Democratic leadership’s request for Majority Deputy Whip Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, to step down is a “21st-century lynching of a black man.”
House and other state Democratic leaders have urged Melton to resign following a Denver Post article detailing Melton’s arrests. Now the calls for resignation are being reciprocated.
“The Democratic leadership needs to apologize to him and step down themselves,” former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said.
Melton was first arrested 1999 and pleaded guilty to harassment after a witness told police they heard him yelling and hitting his then-girlfriend, according to a police report obtained by The Denver Post. He received a deferred sentence.
Melton was arrested a second time in 2008 for charges related to domestic violence that were later dropped. Melton has denied any wrongdoing, and the woman from 2008 told Colorado Politics that Melton didn’t hit her.
Melton wasn’t at the press conference and didn’t respond to requests for comment Thursday but has denied striking either woman.
Both major-party candidates for Colorado governor weighed in on the situation Thursday.