Colorado parks chief put on leave after telling Black employee she's at the 'back of the bus'
Alease "Aloe" Lee (screengrab).

On Tuesday, ABC 7 Denver reported that Dan Prenzlow, the chief of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, has been put on leave following an accusation by a Black state employee that he made a racist comment while congratulating her at the recent Colorado Parks and Wildlife Partners in the Outdoors Conference in Vail.

“'Dan Prenzlow, he got on stage in front of 600 people and, in an attempt to thank me, he pointed out my position in the room and he said, 'There she is in the back of the bus, Aloe,'' said Alease 'Aloe' Lee, CPW statewide partnership coordinator," reported Micah Smith. "The alleged comment has links to the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1950s and 1960s in southern states, Black Americans were forced to sit in the back of public buses and give up their seats to white riders. Rosa Parks helped end discrimination on public transit in 1955 when she refused to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama."

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Lee added that after the incident, “I was flooded with emails and texts of support and people apologizing and saying, 'This shouldn't have happened.'”

A petition with more than 100 signatures now calls on Gov. Jared Polis to terminate Prenzlow.

In recent years, racial incidents involving public officials have come under sharper scrutiny. In Louisiana at the end of last year, Judge Michelle Odinet was forced to resign after video showed the N-word repeatedly being used in her home during a burglary.

Watch the original report below:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife employee says director made racist comment at recent