Occupy Denver: Mayor Michael Hancock talks about denied injunction and police frustrations
Following the announcement that Judge Robert Blackburn denied Occupy Denver's request for a temporary restraining order against the City and County of Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock spoke -- briefly -- about the decision's implications for the city. His take on the matter: Those implications are pretty darn good. Hancock calls the decision an "affirmation" that the city and the Denver Police Department have dealt with Occupy Denver in a proper and Constitutional manner.
Joined by city attorney Doug Friednash and Manager of Safety Alex Martinez, Hancock focused on the issue for slightly under five minutes. First on his list of topics was his insistence that the city is not gloating. Instead, he sees Blackburn's order as a validation.
"I want to make it very clear that we don't see this as a victory for the City of Denver," Hancock says. "Rather, we see it as an affirmation of our commitment to consistently apply the ordinances and laws of the City and County of Denver as we've dealt with the Occupy Denver protests. We will continue to do whatever we can to protect the protesters' rights to free speech and assembly. With that said, we will continue to ask the protesters to acknowledge and to observe the laws of the City and County of Denver."
Kelsey Whipple Police cars block Broadway in front of Civic Center Park in preparation for a Saturday protest.
The mayor hinted at no changes in the city's perspective on dealing with the movement but repeated his stance that "we very clearly see this as an affirmation."
Before long, the discussion shifted to focus on the release (also from today) of a series of text messages in which police officers disparage the occupation, going so far as to call the occupiers "idiots" and admit to creating a fake Twitter account to harass them in cyberspace. Hancock, who admitted to reading some, if not all, of the messages, said the situation has not yet been addressed, but he called it inappropriate.
"Obviously, those are not the values and edicts of this city or this administration," Hancock says. "I'm real disappointed that some of our officers have decided to communicate in this way. What these text messages show is a very bad judgment on the part of a few officers who said some inappropriate things they should not say. We'll deal with them effectively."
He continued with remarks about the situations officers have had to deal with in regard to the occupation, circumstances he referred to as "frustrations." But he insists these challenges do not justify bad behavior toward occupiers. "We understand and acknowledge the hardships our officers have had to endure, whether it's facing some very tense situations on the street in dealing with Occupy Denver (or) getting called away from home as these flash-pan events have occurred along the way," Hancock said. "I've started to see some of the frustrations of our officers. That's not an excuse, but I want you to understand."
More from our Occupy Denver archives: "Occupy Denver: Police text messages rip protesters as pathetic.'"