Denver Direct: Police body language at Occupy Denver

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Police body language at Occupy Denver

Crossed arms

I’ve been to the Occupy Denver site a number of times, and I can’t help but notice the body language  and individual actions of the police there. This photo (from Kelsey Whipple of Westword) says it all.

On Saturday, within the first 15 minutes of my arrival, I witnessed three different uniformed Denver bicycle police spitting on the sidewalk. The third one happened just a few feet from me, so I walked over to the officer.

“Isn’t spitting on the sidewalk against the law? I asked of the spitting officer. He said “No” but his partner laughed and said “Yes”. I looked down at the large, wet goober lying on the sidewalk near his foot.

“I think it’s disgusting, it’s bad for your image, and that you should stop.” I walked away.

This “image” problem that the Denver police have goes further. From the same Westword (Denver’s only real newspaper) article: (emphasis mine)

“The small box shack drew immediate attention from police constantly positioned across the street to monitor the group because its placement blocked part of the sidewalk, Hausner says. “Even the people sleeping on the sidewalks at night are currently in violation of the law, but we’re willing to let that one go. This one, we cannot.”The fluctuating interpretation of the ruling drew confusion from the Occupy gathering, which was split almost in half on the decision of whether or not to tear down the Thundercube.”

So the police get to decide which violations to enforce, and which to “let go”.

Given the early estimates ($365,000) of the cost of this “fluctuating interpretation” and enforcement  of the law, I’m guessing that the cost to taxpayers is well over $1 million by now. Isn’t it time for Mayor Hancock and Governor Hickenlooper to “let this one go”?

May I recommend that H & H (and the police) follow what is happening in Albany, NY, where the police refused to obey orders to arrest the occupiers?

Meanwhile, Albany County District Attorney David Soares on Sunday said that over the weekend he had conversations with Jennings, Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff and State Police officials about his concerns regarding prosecution of “peaceful protesters.”
Soares said protests at the state Capitol are common, and historically anyone arrested for trespassing generally faces a low-level charge that’s later dismissed.
“Our official policy with peaceful protesters is that unless there is property damage or injuries to law enforcement, we don’t prosecute people protesting,” Soares said. “If law enforcement engaged in a pre-emptive strike and started arresting people I believe it would lead to calamitous results, and the people protesting so far are peaceful.”
Source: Red Green & Blue (