Denver Direct: WHY DID DENVER POLICE GO ALL “NYCPD” ON THE PEACEFUL PROTESTERS?
Thursday, May 8, 2014
by Gerald Trumbule
I wasn’t at the protest, but this one piece of video seems to show the Denver Police, in riot gear, suddenly attacking the peaceful protesters. I thought Chief White had brought a different, more reasonable, approach to the Denver Police Department, but apparently I was wrong. The officers in this video seem to start up all at once, as if on command. What was the trigger here? Did I miss something?
From a press release here:
Denver 5/5- Wednesday, May 5th saw the 7th monthly “Every 5th” protest in
the streets of Denver. The loose internet-based activist collective known
as “Anonymous” has been holding these events to call attention to
different issues in the city and the nation. The last event on April 5th
was a protest against police brutality, which was predictably attacked by
the Denver Police Department. This month’s protest was to call for an
“end to Denver’s war on free speech,” to call attention to the
unconstitutional anti-protest measures often taken by the police
department. The number of marchers fluctuated between 30 and 100
throughout the day. With slogans and banners calling attention to police
brutality and free speech issues, the march went all around downtown,
passed through the Auraria college campus, and visited the 16th st mall.
While the march was on the sidewalk outside Rock Bottom Brewery on 16th
st, a line of riot police charged the march and violently pushed several
people, including elderly women and children, to the ground in addition to
making several unprovoked arrests. After a tense standoff outside Rock
Bottom, the march went back up 16th st to disperse at the capitol
building. As people dispersed to leave the protest, squads of Denver
police stalked people leaving the protest, ambushing groups and
individuals in parking lots and streets, apparently as “revenge” for their
protest against the Denver Police Department. It was very apparent to
eyewitnesses that Denver Police were maliciously targeting protesters in
an attempt to intimidate them into ceasing first amendment-protected
protest activity. The Denver Police continue to claim that their actions
were to keep the public safe, which is very odd when reconciled with the
sounds of innocent bystanders screaming as the police rushed and attacked
people who were standing on the sidewalk. The protest was not hurting
anyone, there was no danger and no acts of destruction. The only danger
present was that crowds of people on the 16th street mall might see that
there are people ready to stand up against the privatized, militarized,
and gentrified direction Denver has been taking of late.
An account by a mother who was violently knocked to the ground by DPD
during the attack on the crowd outside Rock Bottom Brewery:
“I was walking on the sidewalk, playing my drum when the police suddenly
attacked the crowd. A police officer pushed me to the ground, someone
picked me up, and then another police officer picked me up and threw me
into a man standing nearby. The officer then yelled at me to “get off of
him!” after the police themselves threw me into this man. This was my
first protest in Denver, and I never said “fuck the police.” I was
conducting myself in a peaceful and legal manner, and the police really
opened up my eyes in terms of how they deal with protests in this city. I
did not feel safe and in fact felt endangered by the officers’ aggressive
behavior. I asked who was in charge, but no officers would tell me who is
in charge. Who is responsible for this? This is not ok.”
The person who provided the above eyewitness account is available for
interviews upon request. We can provide other eyewitnesses as well.
“A group of us was calmly walking away from the protest, heading towards
the Capitol Hill neighborhood. As we passed through a parking lot, a
group of police officers on bicycles suddenly surrounded us, rammed our
friend’s bike with their bike, knocking him to the ground. They proceeded
to chase him and arrest him without explaining themselves. Another
individual present was punched in the face although he was never detained
or accused of a crime. This kind of behavior by Denver Police is clearly
a direct retaliation against us exercising our first amendment rights to
publicly denounce the corruption and brutality of this city’s police
force. Today, I am ashamed to be a taxpayer in the city of Denver,
because my tax dollars are financing the violent repression of peaceful
at 9:10 AM
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