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Occupy Denver: Police return to enforce anti-encumbrances ordinance on a nightly basis

occupy clementine tiny.jpg
In the week since Occupy Denver was evicted on December 21, the Denver Police Department has kept Chief Robert White's promise to remove any and all structures on a daily basis. Last night, this feat involved nine officers, eight police cars, two Public Works trucks and one arrest when police visited the site around 1 a.m. The most recent culprit was the group's food supply: boxes of donated bread and Clementine oranges.

Following a rowdy raid that saw parts of the encampment set on fire, the DPD has remained strict with its enforcement of the city's no-encumbrances policy. Today, the local chapter of the occupation sleeps and spends its time predominantly in the front left corner of the park, where officers visited it very early this morning.The scene that resulted is newly typical to the area, which now gets daily late-night DPD visits and sees between three and four parked police cars during its open hours.

occupy encumbrance cardboard sign.jpg
Kelsey Whipple
New signs at the occupation focus on the city's encumbrances ordinance.
When extra officers pulled up to the park in the early morning, their presence surprised none of the occupiers, nor did their goal of reinforcing the encumbrances regulation. The night before, for example, city officials had brought a bulldozer into Civic Center Park to remove a pile of snow one occupier had stacked during the day. (This is not the first time this has happened.)

occupy clementine bread.jpg
Kelsey Whipple
Public Works employees remove Occupy Denver's boxed food supplies from the sidewalk at 1 a.m.
Last night, nine officers gathered in Occupy Denver's current corner space and asked protesters to remove their food supplies from the area. The request earned immediate refusal: Although the group is exploring a plan to establish a storage unit, it currently has no go-to means of stashing collective property.

Instead, as officers waited for Public Works officials to drive over in two waste collection trucks, they monitored the park and began a now-routine series of back-and-forth debate. "This is abandoned trash," DPD Sergeant Jeff Hausner told protesters. "We offered to let someone claim it and remove it, but nobody did. It's lost and abandoned garbage."

It was at this point in the night that protester Corey Donahue, accompanied by others, offered to fight the officers in an MMA match. They declined. He made insulting jokes. They returned the favor. ("Corey, don't you ever get tired of hearing yourself?" "Never.") When protester Caryn Sodaro tried to enter the park to remove a wooden sign, she was threatened with arrest for breaking park curfew. When she stepped back, it was occupier Nicole Sisneros who later earned that arrest instead -- her second in a week.

occupy nicole arrest.jpg
Kelsey Whipple
Protester Nicole Sisneros (right) is arrested inside the park after its curfew.
"If you guys don't think we have things recorded on tape, you're sadly mistaken," Hausner said, followed later by, "You guys need to keep this clean and keep it from becoming a health hazard. As with every night, we'll be enforcing the rules out here."

"As with every night, we'll be helping you waste taxpayers' money," one occupier, who goes only by "Beard," responded.

"If that's how you want to see it," Hausner responded, "Fine." When police officers ended their latest visit to the occupation, it was with appropriate timing: A supporter had just dropped off two pizzas.

More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Boulder park closure issue opened to public discussion after pressure from Occupy Boulder."

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13 comments
It's Jenn again...
It's Jenn again...

Those were probably perfectly good Clementine oranges, too. Little, juicy, non-threatening.....

Magga Mín
Magga Mín

Only in the USA would we see good food being thrown out over and over and over again.  DPD and Mayor Hancock you make me ill. What a bunch of bullies.

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

Hey, DPD: You're the ones that want all that crap off the sidewalk, so why don't you move it instead of making Public Works do the heavy lifting? Afraid you'll break a nail, or is it a little too close to actual work for comfort?

Waste
Waste

While tax money gets poured down this hole of "enforcement," shoppers and diners (and tax income) avoid downtown because piled snow and ice are blocking parking spaces.

Nice allocation of resources, Mr. Mayor. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Your tax dollars at work -- 24/7 harrassment!

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Is this the same Caryn Sodaro who was fired as a a volunteer fire fighter and sentenced to three years probation plus over $11,000 in restitution after making about 48 false 911 calls for her own entertainment?

Irony_Tag
Irony_Tag

The bullies are the ODer's who keep trying to impose their will against those who want a clean park. OD was given the option to remove the food and refused, it's their own fault it is gone.

Irony_Tag
Irony_Tag

How about the people who place it there remove it. The police weren't hired to clean up trash.

Irony_Tag
Irony_Tag

Since OD won't police themselves (really, a kayak in a tree??) then someone has to do it.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The City does not enforce the ordinance about shovelling sidewalks, or only very selectively.  When it does snow, it is hazardous for pedestrians to walk in many places in the Denver -- the City doesn't even keep the sidewalks in front of its own facilities free of snow and ice!

Irony_Tag
Irony_Tag

Looks like it. I guess they want the laws to apply to other people, just not to themselves.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Yes, when it gets to the point that they are putting kayaks in trees, it's time to call out the National Guard!

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Yeah, I did some checking..it's the same person.  Well, if that's the type of person OD wants to be associated with, they're definitely not going to get much respect from the 99%.

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