Top

blog

Stories

 

City on Occupy Denver: "If a structure goes up today, it comes down today"

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for michael hancock pointing.jpg
Mayor Hancock.
Last night's Occupy Denver eviction is unlikely to be the last one in the near future. In a statement on the subject, Mayor Michael Hancock supported the city's actions and cited the now commonly repeated concerns of public safety and access. Accompanied by new Police Chief Robert White, Hancock confirmed plans to follow the same steps in the future. "If it goes up today, it comes down today," White says.

Hancock began the press conference by narrating a summary of last night's events: "After several attempts to communicate with protesters," he said, the Denver Police Department made the decision to move in and remove the group's handmade forts -- defined by the city as 'encumbrances' -- in person. In all, last night's eviction marked a tense relationship between police and protesters, who set fire to some of their forts as officers closed in on the encampment. The wait to evict them "went on a day or two longer than it probably should have," Hancock says.

Video from last night's eviction:

After White met with a group of ten Occupy Denver representatives yesterday afternoon, he said he could tell demonstrators had no intention of taking down the tarp-covered shacks themselves.

"It was pretty obvious they were going to keep those encumbrances, but it's our duty to enforce those ordinances," White says. Although several media outlets reported police aggression against both protesters and press, White described the behavior of the officers as "calm and patient." For the time being, the DPD plans to station police officers in the park to guard against further city ordinance violations. "We will have a presence in the park as long as it's necessary."

occupy riot white.jpg
Kelsey Whipple
Police Chief Robert White attended last night's eviction in person.
As the press conference took place at the City & County Building, the scene one block away from it at Civic Center Park included three protesters and five police cars, two of which parked in the bus lane where protesters were controversially ticketed for stopping their cars to make donations only a month ago.

Although the most recent report from last night suggested four arrests, Hancock confirmed the final number at nine arrests, some of which include felony arson investigations.

At this point, the Denver Police Department has spent more than $400,000 in dealing with the local occupation, a number Hancock compared to the costs of running a library for a year ($350,000) or a recreation center for the same time span ($480,000). When asked about the city's long-term plan for a relationship with Occupy Denver, Hancock replied, "Our long-term plan is to keep doing what we've been doing."

In recent weeks, this has included recruiting outreach workers to visit the site and encourage homeless protesters to sleep at local shelters. In comparing Denver's occupation to its partners across the United States, Hancock said Denver's is smaller than others because the city has not allowed it to grow. This measurement comes from conference calls with other mayors, Hancock says, specifically mentioning Boston.

"Our parks are open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.," Hancock says. "We're even allowing them to sleep on the sidewalk as long as there's no blockage. The reality is we'd love to avoid these kind of engagements."

In addition to comments that the area was an "eyesore," a few journalists offered questions about the occupation's future in the city: How did things get to this point? Is this the last time?

"That's a question for the protesters," Hancock says.

More from our Occupy Denver archives: "Photos: Occupy Denver's latest eviction ends in flames, arrests and Tebowing."


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
krazykaty
krazykaty

Ironic that a piece of land could be so important to the city, more important then Constitutional rights. And Hancock is just now finding out that Denver has a homeless population that cannot be addressed by current services? This seems rather ignorant for the mayor of such a large city. A power play of this sort is indicative of the problems in America. When the rights of a few are violated what will stop them from violating the rights of the many? I fear for the lack of tolerance exhibited and the repercussions of the continuing undermining of the US Constitution will ultimately destroy this country.

Mike
Mike

 "After several attempts to communicate with protesters," he said, the Denver Police Department made the decision to move in and remove the group's handmade forts -There was no attempt to communicate! They ssaid this is what we will do, and you will live with it!Strangely reminiscent of Gestapo Germany! 

Justsayin
Justsayin

i love that pic of mayor uncle tom

Mr Manumba Ney
Mr Manumba Ney

I visited OD last night, there wasn't a cop anywhere.OD put up a blue tent in the park 100 ft west of Broadway.There were two fires going; I figured there was going to be trouble.They knew there was going to be trouble, they were looking for trouble.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

What bold and incisive leadership!  How about tomorrow; will that be soon enough, Mr. Hancock?

A few people occupying makeshift shelters in one corner of the park or on the sidewalk do not threaten public safety or access.  A little grafitti and trash does not imperil the park -- and how incredibly hypocritical to try to blame Occupy for it, considering how much grafitti and trash there always is in an urban park!  How many of the people beating their breasts about what they imagine is being done to the park have ever been there?  Not many, because many of the timid burghers of Denver regard it as a war zone -- due to the historical behavior of DPD in it.

Mantonat
Mantonat

Once again, Godwin's Law has been proven - in remarkably short time.

Jay Frost
Jay Frost

There was one fire in the park before the pigs got there. It was in a barrel, and it was very much a controlled burn. That was to keep warm. Only when we were swarmed bastards was that barrel kicked over, and Castle Occupy immolated..

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Once again Robert Chase breaks out his thesaurus, but doesn't do anything but type bold words.  For someone who claims to support the movement so much, I haven't seen his name on a single arrest report.  

Put up or shut up Robert..quit letting the 20 year old kids fight your battles and get out there on the front lines to support your views.  It's tougher than sitting at home smoking your meds, but at least you might earn some respect.  Coward.

EnoughAlready RobertChase
EnoughAlready RobertChase

Fuck you and the high horse you ride around town on, Robert Chase. thepark was recently renovated and has been relatively graffiti-free sincerenovations. to say people haven't been beating their breasts for thepast few years is ignorant of you at the least -- $9 million has beenspent to change Civic Center from the crack den it was to the enjoyablepark it is. If you don't think things have changed in the last twoyears or so, then you must not be paying attention during your littlepot rallies down there -- because those of us who live around here andwalk in this park daily DO see a difference. But that aside,  by saying that 'other people do it' you justify whatthe #od protesters did and in the process sound like a complete asshat.It's not right to deface the park no matter what. Now allour taxdollars (you know, the rest of us in the 99 percent) have to goto cleaning up more spraypaint. And yes, it's right to be blamingoccupy denver for spraypaint that reads "occupy denver"-- especiallywhen several people saw OD protesters doing it.

 

prado
prado

Robert - excellent point about the trash and graffiti. Civic Center Park has always been full of trash and graffiti. I felt safer walking around the area at night while Occupy Denver was in the neighborhood than I ever have down there before. I imagine the city could have saved itself some money by negotiating with Occupy Denver...we'll give you a little leeway on the city ordinance enforcement, you help keep the entire park clean. Win-Win. 

Mr Manumba Ney
Mr Manumba Ney

You really should go smoke your Meds and mellow out.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I have an internal thesaurus.  I am sure that you would like to see my name on an arrest report (but in my case at least, that might require committing a crime, which I thought that you opposed).  I visit Occupy just about daily, march with Occupy, and I have been present at several of the massive police assaults on Occupy.  I have not interfered with or obstructed police, nor do I encourage or direct 20-somethings to do do so.  You could learn all this and more first-hand just by coming to Civic Center Park.  Idiot!

Jay Frost
Jay Frost

What it really comes down to is this.After we moved in, there was a kayak in the tree, and a fan, and a bunch of traffic cones. There was a shanty town full of good people, human beings like the rest of you, trying to keep warm in the snow.Before we moved in, there were herion needles in the grass, and crack, heroin, and meth dealers, not pot-smoking hippies, occupied your park.You tell me, what's really worse?We've done this city a service, and anyone who disagrees is either an imbecile, or has never actually spent time in Civic Center Park.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I have already stated that marking indelibly on the marble is wrong, and with few exceptions (or just one exception), people at Occupy Denver are not doing it -- a single incident of someone spray-painting does not justify all the insinuations of damage and the vituperation (in which you are a participant) directed at OD.  I have been in Civic Center Park many times before and during the protest, and I do not believe that any (significant) damage has been done to any part of the park.  I do not support damaging the park and the people of Occupy Denver are not damaging the park, so why do you rage?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Indeed?  Google "denver civic center park marble" (https://www.google.com/search?....  The document at the very first search return contradicts you.  Visit Civic Center Park and look at its walls; some are (obviously) marble.  One wonders on what basis you make such definitive claims, unsupported by the evidence readily available on the Internet and to visitors' eyes.

Mr Manumba Ney
Mr Manumba Ney

There is not any marble anywhere in the park.The Greek architecture is made of cheap molded cement.The $9 million dollar price tag doesn't make sense even if the architecture was built new from scratch.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...