Occupy Denver: 21 police cars respond after Halloween try to occupy City Council meeting

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On Halloween night, an evening notorious for tricks, treats and the increased police presence that mix requires, Occupy Denver was met by 21 police cars over an hour an a half. After a failed attempt by protesters to meet with city council, ten police cars monitored six occupiers outside the City and Council Building. When the protesters returned to camp, they were met by eleven cars whose assigned officers kept pepper spray handy.

Following the police-versus-protester demonstrations of the past two weeks, much has been made about compaints that the concentration of police at Civic Center Park might result in lighter enforcement in other areas of the city at the same time. The first few altercations cost the city $365,000, and one officer sarcastically told a protester last night that each cop car following the group meant an additional $5,000 out of the city budget. It was a joke, but one with a point: How often and how much does police presence at Occupy Denver continue to cost the city?

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Kelsey Whipple
Occupy Denver members are prevented from entering the City and Council building.
"The more active we are, the more police follow us constantly, and I want to know how much this is all costing us," protester James Gardner says. "It must be really expensive to babysit us all the time."

Last night's elevated police numbers began with a trip to occupy the regular City Council meeting, which was near its end, if not already over, by the time the group gathered outside around 7 p.m. Nevertheless, security officers allowed four people in to check on a potential smaller meeting with council representatives while the others waited outside for news. Within five minutes, ten police cars arrived to monitor the remaining six people sitting on the building's back steps. Meanwhile, eleven police officers and two security guards watched the (newly locked) door from inside.

The problem with numbers here is one of preparation, Denver Police Department public information officer Matthew Murray says. Because of the overall size of the occupation, he notes, the police department must be prepared to handle any potential interaction at all times. He adds that incidents such as the one this past Saturday, which escalated with incredible speed as early as 3 p.m., have become learning opportunities in an effort to approach the movement peacefully and knowledgably.

"We're very reactive, and we're trying to be prepared every time," Murray says. "The hard thing is that at times like Saturday, there is sometimes no big response until things get violent, and then there was a citywide call. What if they did get into the City and Council building and we couldn't do anything about it because we only have one car there? Ten cars isn't that many, even if it means we are asked why we brought that many. We'd have people calling the next day asking us why we weren't prepared."

Protesters outside the council meeting repeatedly inquired if their action was illegal and they should abdicate the steps. They were greeted three times with "I don't know" before an answer was returned. The final verdict: The property is open until 10 p.m., and although it was not yet 7:30, the police remained until the protesters left.

"Let's go check on whether the general assembly wants to vote on if we should have done that," protester Corey Donahue joked on the way back to the rest of the occupation.

But within fifteen minutes of their return, the larger group was again met by police, this time eleven cars with their lights on located in the center of the park. No official suspicion provoked the police presence, Murray says, only the wish to evaluate the situation after the earlier attempt to occupy City Council.

Originally, only one car was on hand. But after a female officer was asked by protester Pat Marsden why she was at the park, she ordered him to back away, called for back-up and removed a canister of pepper spray from her car.

Ten cars immediately followed and stayed on the scene for about half an hour without explanation. Protesters, who yesterday formed a nonviolence committee as a result of Saturday's escalated tension, gathered in the area to demand a reason for the police presence, but received only constant requests to back up farther than the two feet that separated them from police. The officers left the area shortly thereafter.

More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver: Biggest riot squad presence to date, pepper bullets, multiple arrests (PHOTOS)."

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25 comments
West Guest
West Guest

gee, wouldn't it have been keen if they had dispatched 21 cop cars every time the roving gang of thugs were robbing and beating people with baseball bats last summer on Capitol Hill.

Show me what a police state looks like.. DENVER is what a police state looks like!

Hormone
Hormone

This is a shame. 10 cop cars for 6 protesters? AUSTERITY FOR THE PD!

V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta

This is going to get worse...  if the cops dont   back down now some ones gonna get killed and then COLORADO is going to fight back, as in well bye bye nice state  hello libya like people also known as hell in a hand basket

COLORADO SINCE 1976
COLORADO SINCE 1976

I grew up here and am appalled at the overbearing response by the mayor, city council, and police department which is costing you, me, and every other taxpayer in the city money we can't afford to be spending. 

think for a minute if the hundreds of thousands of dollars our city government is spending on babysitting non-violent protestors was spent on finishing all these ridiculous road repair projects or spent on extending library and rec center hours so all the local teenagers had a safe (and supervised) place to hang out instead of roaming the streets getting in trouble...

If Mayor Hancock was smart (obviously he's not), he would have embraced the protestors from day one and let them set up a tent city and let them exercise their 1st amendment rights with their marches and demonstrations because after a few weeks the protestors would have felt they made their point, everyone would have respected the mayor and the city government for letting people have their say, and then they would have went home...INSTEAD THE MAYOR'S POLICIES ARE ENCOURAGING THE PROTESTORS TO GET EVEN MORE AGITATED DEALING WITH THE COPS DRESSED IN RIOT GEAR

Karyfrances
Karyfrances

This protest is largely misunderstood by  politicians and cops.  Cops have beenviolent in Denver for at least two decades. Legislators are ignorant to the consequences of the laws and ordinances they are enacting;  They have turned fascist in order to steal our liberties and our money.  Believe a real revolution has started and they don't realize it.

Karyfrances
Karyfrances

Denver City Council members have many times in past years "crafted languaage" around theConstitution in order to violate Denver citizens rights, privileges and liberties.  They shouldall resign or be charged with violating their oaths of office.  Hope the protestors will stand firmly against these violations and get some repeals of bad laws legislalted.

Gold Man-Sacks
Gold Man-Sacks

This is truly ridiculous. You would think they were a gang of sex offenders walking into an elementary school. Why can't they address their elected officials?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

We, the voters of Denver, can and should amend our City Charter so that municipal elections are held during general elections -- the retrograde incumbents on the Council and Mayor Oreo are the products of a system that expends more resources in order to conduct elections dominated by a minority of more conservative voters.

Nadine
Nadine

This is ridiculous.  How many services, such as trash pickup and libraries, are residents of Denver going to lose to pay for this police overkill?  The only violence that has occurred has been instigated by the police.

Billy Reno
Billy Reno

 Fact is...DPD probably would have been the 1st police dpt to murder a civilian protester last saturday, had not the Krishna's marched in front of them just before they launched their assault on the protesters in front of the food tent!    

V for vendetta
V for vendetta

WOOHOO!!!!!! GO  Replying to COLORADO SINCE 1976  you just proved my point!

V for vendetta
V for vendetta

NOT a bit to much. ITS A BIT LESS!!! remember to be peaceful and  GO FARTHER!!

ha
ha

good call

Mark
Mark

This protest is a joke. Taxing the 1% does nothing, and why should wealth be punished!!! A flat tax, even Cains tax makes sense. We all should pay the same rate. You want change vote for Ron Paul.

Ric And Lana
Ric And Lana

The only thing ridiculous is this protest! The protestors have pushed the boundaries and if the police don't show their presence then things can get out of hand. Meanwhile, are you aware of how many gang "beatings" are taking place downtown just over the past weekend alone? It's because these gangs know that the police are "pre-occupied" with this ridiculous protest, so they are taking advantage of it. Young white males are being beaten almost to death. People are just watching and video taping it, because they know the police wont be responding any time soon.

Why don't the protestors do something productive after 11:00pm and go downtown and protect the innocent young men who are being attacked? It's a win win...they can get their aggression out on the "bad guys" and let the police department do what it was "intended" to do...fight crime not protestors!

V
V

wrong. did you know that the 1% is  taxed unfairly, look at the  99% we pay thousands of dollars in taxes, they pay at max A thousand. now who has more money? ANSWER: the 1%. What  FAMOUS document said WE ARE ALL EQUAL? ANSWER: Declaration of Independence written by some of the most RICH men in the colonies at this time period.

Gold Man-Sacks
Gold Man-Sacks

No, this is a joke:

A tourist asks a man in uniform, "Are you a policeman?"

"No, I am an undercover detective."

"So why are you in uniform?"

"Today is my day off."

GOPer with sense
GOPer with sense

Mark must be a 1%er. Ron Paul - WHAT A JOKE. And if you believe that CEO's and the like DESERVE to make 500 times the workers salary you are quite blind and one of the many "SHEEP" in this country who buy into the fear for your job mentality that the 1%er and corporate america push upon you - if you are afraid you wont speak up. I do not believe wealth should be punished, but certainly greed, manipulation, and lack of morals certainly MUST be punished. If you think a flat tax does not benefit the already wealthy and does not punish the 99% even more than we already are, your a damned fool. Wake up, this protest is about exactly these things - on top of the overwhelming costs of the completely useless wars the Bush's felt necessary to push us into.

@Ric and Lana your comments are laughable. You are 1%ers or clueless.

Nadine is completely correct, the ones who expect violence are the ones who come dressed for it. Every act of violence I have seen portrayed is a result of the aggressive actions of the police force and the government the 1%ers own. You are all aware of the Iraq war vet who had his skull fractured in Oakland by the police because he was hit in the head with a flash grenade correct? If you believe that is acceptable action, I feel sorry for you.

Billy Reno
Billy Reno

why don't you do something "productive" an get off your racist ass and go save save em!

Hormoan
Hormoan

bull honkey those beatings would be on youtube by now if somebody actually captured them

KevlarInvestor
KevlarInvestor

You're preaching to the choir.  Everyone agrees that Hancock's and Hickenlooper's decision to expend resources on peaceful protestors rather than protect the public against violent criminals, is wrong.  Sure, people are being attacked all over the city, but hey!, there are fewer bald patches in the grass of Civil Center Park!

You should call Hancock's or Hickenlooper's office with your complaint.  This protest was largely ignored and dwindling in numbers up until the Mayor and Governor escalated it with attacks.  The bottom line is; you're paying for their political incompetence.  Denver is getting the reputation for being a more violent city, courtesy of its Mayor and Governor.

dr. angelface
dr. angelface

i tried three times to figure out what this screed was intended to communicate. 

then i gave up. 

GOPer with sense
GOPer with sense

Wrong. The numbers have been and will continue to grow until change is made by the government.

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