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Occupy Denver: John Hickenlooper, Michael Hancock ban camping, arrests could follow

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Hickenlooper.
The political triumvirate of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers held a joint news conference this morning aimed firmly at dispersing the ever-growing camp at Occupy Denver. Protesters will no longer be allowed to stay overnight without facing confrontation from the police. The consequence of violating the policy is arrest.

"This is about health, safety of the Occupy Denver protesters, and the public," Hancock says. "I know there's economic pain, but even though I empathize, my job is to uphold the law and keep Denver safe."

A Colorado State Patrol notice handed out after the conference (it's on view below) reads: "Violation of the... rules will result in arrest."

The focus here is not on the First Amendment, the trio maintains, but instead on the health and safety of everyone involved. Their final decision: Protesters may continue the occupation, which is held on state property, from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m., but are forbidden from staying overnight any longer. Although the group has done so ever since the first day of its occupation, that activity is in direct opposition to state law.

occupy denver press conference.jpg
Kelsey Whipple
Governor Hickenlooper, Attorney General Suthers and Mayor Hancock speak at a press conference at the Governor's Office.
"I initially expected it would be just a few days and then it would fizzle," says Hancock, who expressed worry about the safety of the protesters, the police and the property. "And then you wonder what kind of precedent this is setting."

The press conference, although occasionally rushed, remained stern, as the political figures were asked about their transparency with Occupy Denver protesters ("given warning"), the reputation of the local police department ("every confidence") and criticism for Hickenlooper's delayed reaction to the protest.

"They've been told to leave every single day in a different way," Hickenlooper says. In direct response to questions suggesting he has been slow in responding to the growing campsite, his answer was sarcastic: "They have stronger criticism than that."

Hickenlooper toured the Occupy Denver camp for the first time this morning, and though the three later spoke only a block away from the protest's outpost near the Capitol building, they concentrated specifically on the dangers and legality issues it presents. At the moment, the specific timeline and details remain slightly unclear: "That kind of negotiation info is best kept between us and them," Hickenlooper says.

When the meeting concluded...


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77 comments
Clinton James
Clinton James

The 1% paid for their campaigns, the 1% bought their loyalty. The people need to take back the political process, so that corrupt servants to the oligarch class like Hancock and Hicken-whatever can be kept from oppressing the people's constitutional rights. Shame on these cowards. 

JC
JC

I'm a 64 yo Coloradan in favor of means testing medicare to reduce entitlements and try to get the federal budget under control to ensure a future for our children.  I think that means that about 15 million seniors absolutely need their medicare and social security and that about 55 million of us "greedy greezers" can be subjected to some kind of means testing.  In regard to wall street, I think  the intent of Glass-Steagall needs to be enacted and some means need to be found to break up the big banks-even nationaling all banks, if thats what it takes-then reincorporating them on a smaller scale.  I agree that politicians are in the pocket of wall street but I also think that unions are at the mercy of their management who only seem to care about enriching their(union managements) pockets at the cost of sending jobs overseas and bankrupting cities by underfunding their pensions and leaving it to the taxpayers to bail them out.  I would encourage viewing the documentary "Inside Job" and reading "Reckless Endangerment" by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, "All The Devils Are Here" by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, "How Big Banks Fail" by Darrell Duffie ,"The New Lombard Street" by Perry Mehrling, and taking a look at the website of the Concord Coalition for their predictions of unchecked entitlements spending.  

Ken Roberts
Ken Roberts

There is no constitutional requirement to keep tidy or even healthy public spaces.  There is no constitutional requirement to conduct "business as usual."  There are, however, constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.  

Even if occupiers wanted to shut down the capitol altogether, that would take precedence over any and every state, or even federal law, to the contrary. 

That's the nature of democracy.  It isn't necessarily tidy.  It isn't necessarily orderly.

If you can't live with that, move to a police state. 

Speedhog10
Speedhog10

Now the drug dealers can return to their normal routine

Kazarob
Kazarob

That is just plain wrong! We are guaranteed freedom of speech in this country--remember?

Tiffani Hillin
Tiffani Hillin

There were higher living standards in that tent city than I've seen in nice "homes".  Let's go ahead and bring up the rest of the city's level of "safety" then.  Since they care so much.   

Gams1953
Gams1953

I think we should call in FEMA to help house and cleanup since the way the goverment is run is a NATIONAL DISASTER then we can call it job creation!

JJN
JJN

"This is about health, safety of the Occupy Denver protesters, and the public," Hancock says.Wow, reminds me of something I would tell my children. "Oh honey, be careful, that oven is hot.  You might burn yourself.  Why don't you play in the living room where it is safe to play."

I'm so glad Hancock is looking out for the safety of Occupy Denver protesters.  Its so dangerous to peacefully assemble to redress grievances, especially when the police force threaten the people with violence.  If Hancock is concerned about safety he would demand the police stop harassing peaceful protesters. 

Rev. B Baker
Rev. B Baker

chicken looper and the smuthers brother better worry about me and my suit and leave these poor protestors alone, especially since my final complaint and waiver of summons has been sent and filed! 

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

What you get is what you got

Cause when they own the information, 

They can bend it all they want

Frank Lucas Harlem
Frank Lucas Harlem

The cops can't even clear out the marijuana sellers from the park that have been there since Jerry's Newstand was across the street. They should set up camp outside Martino's crib on Belleview protesting how he gets to screw off banks and live in a 4.5 million dollar house with millions hidden in his wife's name, wife number three.

Danny
Danny

Hancock issued the threat of confrontation.  Occupy Denver did not.  Hancock; "We're just requesting protesters disperse lawfully and peaceably at night in order to avoid confrontation."

Better Wear Your Gortex
Better Wear Your Gortex

My peaceful solution.#1......A crew of City / State Park Employees.#2......A couple of Denver/State Police to protect the park workers.#3......One big wrench to turn on the sprinklers.#4......Repeat nightly at 11PM.

Tiger682
Tiger682

Stinky unemployed hippies are going to get evicted. Can't wait.

downtown observer
downtown observer

If the city and state would have just ignored this the protestors would eventually make their point and feel satisfied but like the foolish, inexperienced leaders they are, Hancock and Hickenlooper have played right into the hands of the vastly more experienced, media savvy radical activists who are now joining the Denver protests. Love how Hancock, Hickenlooper, and the law enforcement community are playing right into the hands of the activists...this will turn into a circus

D.Day
D.Day

Civil disobedience is an essential component of effective activism. DO NOT FEAR BEING ARRESTED. Throughout history the most effective activists, Ghandi, The Bonus Army, MLK, etc - were not afraid of being arrested. Let them lock all of us up. Congest the system. Be peaceful about it and the point will be made. Get arrested, get out then go back to the park and let them do it again the next night and the next and the next. This is how the salt marches worked. Never back down. Show no fear.Call the national lawyers guild as soon as you are arrested at: 212-679-6018 and we'll see you at the park the next night to do it all over again!

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

This is not going to go well.

Hasta victoria siempre comrades !

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

"This is about health, safety of the Occupy Denver protesters, and the public," ....

Funny, when it comes to maintaining public health and safety by making it affordable for food service workers (and the rest of the lowly serfs and peons serving the entitled ruling class) to take a sick day that is paid for by employers through a paid sick day initiative, Governor Opie and Mayor Mikey are absolutely aghast. When a protest occupation threatens their corporate masters, (even in theory), these lapdoggies start rolling over and playing the "health and safety" card. WOOF, WOOF! Roll over, Rover!

Bring it!
Bring it!

Didn't Denver just pay $200,000 to protesters arrested illegally at the DNC? Bring it!

Scorcese
Scorcese

Everybody break out your video cameras.  Film it, record it, document it, tweet it.  Make a record.  Then hang onto that record and allow them to spin as many lies as they want, digging ever deeper.

Nothing brings justice better than a mirror.

Craig Blaylock
Craig Blaylock

If they're so concerned with the health and safety of protesters, why don't we have a national health care plan?

Ashley Swenson
Ashley Swenson

stay strong denver, they are starting to get scared of us, and it's GOOD. stay PEACEFUL.

PracticalReality
PracticalReality

Dumbest waste of taxpayer dollars now endorsed by the Governor and Mayor.  It's not "camping", it is "protesting" in the mode of the "Hoover Camps" of the Great Depression.

"Health and safety" is a ruse to try to put this expected suppression of speech under an exception to the 1st Amendment.

This will be a looooooong, drawn out battle resulting in an extraordinary waste of taxpayer dollars, including the eventual settlement payout to Protesters.  It'll be especially fun to see the comparison of crimes of violence and drug crimes in that Park BEFORE this protest, and the incidence of those crimes DURING this protest.

Health and Safety to justify storm-trooping will be laughed out of the courtroom.  The Park is healthier and safer since this protest began.  If they really want to end it, they should leave it alone...the temperatures will drop low enough, soon enough.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

It is important to focus on the facts:  Hickenlooper is lying about sanitation -- protesters are using RTD's toilets, and any potential problem is caused by the State's refusal to allow us to bring in portable ones, and Hickenlooper is lying about conflicts in using the Park -- the paved portions that veterans and others want to use is unencumbered by tents or any other structures, and people can parade back and forth between the flagpole, the obelisk, and the replica Liberty Bell to their heart's content.

COME DOWN TO LINCOLN PARK IN FRONT OF THE CAPITOL TONIGHT BEFORE 11PM TO SHOW YOUR SOLIDARITY FOR OCCUPY DENVER!

It is very likely that the police attack on Occupy Denver will commence at or after 11pm, but action directed against campers could happen at any time.  A heavily armed riot squad is waiting at Union Station.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Very interesting post, Ken. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

-- when you're put in charge of suppressing public dissent, then you can implement your solution; in the meantime, the Community Emergency Response Team (newspeak for "riot squad") may have other plans.

Diamond_stargazer
Diamond_stargazer

You are in the wrong century, "Tiger"....they aren't 'hippies' and they aren't getting evicted...go back to your Faux Noise and lap up more ignorance!

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

"Get arrested, get out then go back to the park and let them do it again the next night and thenext and the next "

Have you ever been arrested or spent more than 3 days in jail ?

I'm sure the park is filled with a hundred Mandela's and Ghandi's.

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

Hey Kubrick, it's illegal to camp in parks. They are going to do what they need to do to clear the parks.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

And if you get any interesting video, please be sure to share it with us. Thanks for the post, Scorcese.

Kcm2
Kcm2

I hop you all make sure your stuff has some kind of identifying name or number, in the off chance that police would merely confiscate it.

Kcm2
Kcm2

At the most, the state should issue citations. In May, my husband was assaulted by two road rage nuts, who were beating him with their motorcycle helmets.The Denver cops arrested NO ONE. The guilty parties were ticketed with misdemeanor assault.

If they give tickets for assault, they hardly need to arrest peaceful people for "camping"

Bill
Bill

I'll come down there and applaud the state and the cops for upholding the law.

Ken Roberts
Ken Roberts

Dear Mr. Smith:

May I suggest that you seek a new life in North Korea or Burma?  Just think: they'll let you drink all the beer you like, as long as you go along passively with every dictate.  And they'd be simply delighted with your offer to sit around mindlessly watching sports. 

Spineless worms are well-loved by police states everywhere.  (And, rest assured, every one of them have long lists of "laws" that purport to explain why fascism is "legal.")

On the other hand, there is no place, and there will never be a place, for lazy, brainless democracy-haters in any legitimate society.

Hickenlooper and Hancock have shown themselves to be firmly in the fascist camp.  Voters, take note:  now that they've shown their true colors, their political careers should be terminated at the very next opportunity. 

Justsayin
Justsayin

 I find it troubling that you try to stand up for the right of some dick to get high around his kid but people demostrating in a park is over the line? get a grip.

Scorcese
Scorcese

Hey Hannity, it is not illegal to protest on public property.  The "camp" is speech protected by the 1st Amendment.  The Constitution trumps state law every time.

And taxpayers lose (doubly) while their tax dollars go to the lawyers to defend the State's use of the Police to infringe on constitutional rights.

Dave
Dave

RJ, our nation has problems.  Are you one of them, or working for a solution?

Kcm2
Kcm2

edit: hope not hop

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

If you witness violations of the Law on the part of the authorities, will you be cheering those on as well or would you even know them if you saw them?

Freeman
Freeman

Bill = Part of the sheeple or the 1%, or the deluded who wanna-be 1%.

DollaBill
DollaBill

And we assume you will applaud the extraordinary waste of taxpayer dollars.  Just please applaud with your checkbook.  Make it out to "United States Treasury".

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

I've given up complete hope. I don't have the energy to think about our government and it's problems anymore. Nothing changes, the fight isn't fair and I don't feel like going to jail.

Like things are going to be changed by occupying, and ultimately being forcefully moved, from a park ? That's right up there with Che' derailing trains in Santa Rosa.

Fight on.

I'd rather have a beer and watch baseball.

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