On October 29, 2011, the Denver Police Department was removing illegal structures that had been erected in Denver’s Civic Center Park. As they were doing this one officer was shoved from his motorcycle (causing the motorcycle to fall on top of him) and protesters kicked other officers. These officers, heavily outnumbered, called for assistance. Denver Police Officers from all over the city responded in protective crowd control gear as the situation was obviously escalated to physical violence by protesters.
The increased presence of officers immediately de-escalated the situation. Over a period of several hours a large majority of the protesters peacefully left the area.
Protesters were requested (over a thirty minute period) to remove the remaining illegal structures from the park. Some protesters complied, took down their structures, and left peacefully. When others refused, officers moved into the park and removed the structures. During this action (at approximately 6 PM) fifteen protesters (including two juveniles) were arrested for disobedience to a lawful order. One of the arrestee’s was treated by paramedics for minor injuries.
In all, Denver Police made twenty arrests, including two arrests for Felony Assault to a Police Officer.
During the incident officers used pepper spray and “pepper ball” (a high end “paint ball” weapon which deploys small plastic balls with pepper spray inside them). Contrary to protester’s claims, there were no “rubber bullets’ utilized in this incident.
Denver’s Police Officers demonstrated great restraint and professionalism as they were taunted and even physically assaulted.
The Denver Police Department respects, and will defend the right of peaceful protest, however, also remain charged with enforcing the laws and maintaining the peace and safety of all citizens.