Photos: Celena Hollis murder prompts thank-you for northeast Denver Police

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Big photos below.
Less than a day after Denver Police Officer Celena Hollis was shot and killed while trying to break up a fight at City Park, more than 150 people -- activists, preachers, mothers and teenagers -- gathered at the District 2 police headquarters in northeast Denver to thank the officers who worked alongside Hollis on the 6 a.m.-to-4 p.m. shift. The officers listened, some of them with tears in their eyes, as the crowd gave them a standing ovation.

"Everybody woke up with the same heavy heart this morning," said state Senator Mike Johnston, who shares an office in northeast Park Hill with youth violence prevention organization The Prodigal Son Initiative. Their block was the site of non-fatal gunshots this past weekend; one incident occurred just hours before Hollis was killed.

"The police officers are not calling it the 'Summer of Violence' yet," said state Representative Angela Williams, who helped host the thank-you, in reference to the summer of 1993, when concerns about youth violence sparked swept through the community. "But let's not let it get there."

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Melanie Asmar
Community members sign a poster at District 2 headquarters.
Organizers invited the officers to speak, and a few addressed the crowd. "We're all hurting," said District 2 Commander Mike Calo. "This community cares about the police. I get phone calls and e-mails and other forms of communication about the professionalism and the hard work and the dedication.... And today, we see that manifested here."

"Even though some of us fight against police brutality, that doesn't mean we're against the police," said Terrance Roberts, founder and director of The Prodigal Son Initiative.

"We appreciate your work," he told the officers.

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Melanie Asmar
Terrance Roberts addresses the crowd, as District 2 officers stand behind him.
A handful of community members took to the microphone, as well. "She came from Detroit, Michigan!" a man named John Marsh said of Hollis. "For her to come to Denver and have one of our own children take her life? Enough, Denver! Enough!"

Page down to continue reading about the community thank-you for Denver Police.

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