Was Occupy Denver bustee Michael Clapper just along for the ride in kidnapping, sex assault?

Categories: Crime

Michael Clapper's 2011 mug shot. More photos below.
Michael Clapper, 24, made headlines in 2011 after being at the center of Occupy Denver's eviction from Civic Center Park -- a police action that ended in flames, arrests and Tebowing.

Now he's making news of a different, and particularly vile, sort. He's one of two men arrested and charged in the alleged kidnapping and sex assault of a woman who was picked up in Denver and dropped off near Glenwood Springs, but not before she says they tried to get truck drivers to pay to have sex with her.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on a December night in 2011, as we reported at the time, Denver police "delivered on its promise" to remove a small fort city constructed by Occupy Denver protesters. "Although protesters burned a handful of the encumbrances down, approximately 200 officers in riot gear moved in with batons and pepper ball guns before they could destroy any others," our Kelsey Whipple wrote, adding, "All demonstrators have been evicted from Civic Center Park."

Photo by Kelsey Whipple
An Occupy Denver bonfire on the night of a December 2011 police raid on a Civic Center Park encampment.
In the end, nine people were arrested for their actions during the raid, including Clapper, then 22. He was charged with four counts of 4th degree arson due to allegations that he "intentionally set fire to an encumbrance and other items in the area, which endangered others," Whipple noted. "Because of this danger, the charges are classified as a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to six years in jail. The 22-year-old Westminster native faces a bail amount set at $50,000."

Clapper subsequently pleaded guilty to the charge -- but he was free on June 11, according to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, which has the best account we've found about what led to his latest booking photo.

According to an arrest affidavit cited by the paper, Clapper told investigators that he was approached at a Denver bus stop by Richard Pacheco, 34, who asked him if he was "GKI" because he was wearing a purple shirt, as was Pacheco.

The initials "GKI" reference Gallant Knights Insane, one of Denver's most venerable gangs. For instance, the outfit is cited in an October 2008 Westword blog post about a lawsuit filed by the family of Jason Gomez after he was shot by a Denver police officer.

A Google Maps screen capture of the intersection of Colfax and Broadway.
Even though Clapper told Pacheco he wasn't GKI, they apparently became fast friends anyhow and were en route to get a drink at around 8 p.m. when they reportedly spotted a woman near a bus stop at Colfax and Broadway.

The report quotes the woman as saying the men said they were headed to Las Vegas and told her to get into their red Honda Civic. She claims to have been sexually assaulted by what's described as "the shorter of the two men" as they drove around Denver before heading west on I-70.

"She also told police that the pair tried and failed to get truck drivers to have sex with her for money," the Post Independent reports.

A Google Maps look near the rest area off I-70 where the woman was dropped off.
In his comments to investigators, Clapper attempts to minimize his culpability. He says he told Pacheco "he was unwilling to take part in non-consensual sex" and maintains that dropping her off at a rest stop near Bair Ranch in the Glenwood Springs area was his idea.

The woman contacted the Colorado State Patrol shortly before noon on June 12, and based on her description, troopers spotted the Honda a short time later and took Pacheco and Clapper into custody. The car was allegedly stolen.

Pacheco, who boasts an arrest record dating back more than fifteen years, was cuffed on suspicion of sex assault, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree criminal trespass and theft, while Clapper is facing the latter three allegations. Here's a look at his latest mug shot, along with Pacheco's.

Michael Clapper.

Richard Pacheco.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Occupy Denver archive circa December 2011: "Updated: Occupy Denver's latest eviction ends in flames, arrests and Tebowing."

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That's why we called them Occutards.


The two are being charged for far less than what they actually did to the female. I hope they are put away forever. Oh, and the female had NO clue about Clappers involvement with the occupy crap, remember its KIDNAPPING? One more thing, do you research, Clapper talked to the police quite a bit and there are only a couple of things that he says differently from the female they did this too. Try researching before you show your stupidity.


What is the point of this article?  To truly wonder about a person's guilt or innocence?  To conflate infantile past actions that in no way have anything to do with this case?  Or to drag a dead protest movement even deeper through the mud?


Liberals love big government. Protesting it seemed a little confusing to me. They protest against police brutality, yet are dumb enough to vote for gun-control, which means the ONLY people who are going to be allowed to own guns are the same corrupt. brutal pigs they are protesting.....Makes no sense to me.

WillieStortz topcommenter

So he was trying to pimp out this poor girl? 

That is the closest thing any Occupy member came to getting a job.

RobertChase topcommenter

Do prosecutors have any evidence that Clapper engaged in second-degree kidnapping, first-degree criminal trespass, and theft?  If not, they should be arrested and never released.


Both men have been transferred to Denver's downtown detention center and are being held on $10,000 bond after a court appearance Wednesday morning.

muhutdafuga topcommenter

@OccupyThis Jr., you are wrong on so many points.  Let me educate you.  First, it is conservaturds that love the big nanny state government.  Just look at all the things the Tea Party Taliban want to ban.  We good Americans protest police brutality, cultservaturds celebrate it.  Liberals aren't for getting rid of guns, just the offensive weapons used by conservatives to shoot up schools like James (R)eagan Holmes did.  In fairness to frightened little conservatives, they might need a 100 round magazine to protect themselves.  In an emergency, after they wet their pants, they'd be shaking with fear so bad they'd be firing their weapon randomly. 

muhutdafuga topcommenter

@WillieStortz It's cute how you fascists lie.  Really lying is all you have left.  Thank you for sharing your feelings.

muhutdafuga topcommenter

Superiority to conservatives in all respects. 

muhutdafuga topcommenter

@DerpMcDerpington Yeah, some are conservatives along for the ride, doing the one of the few things conservatives do well:  Sabotage good Americans.  That gives conservative cult followers the opportunity to do what they do best:  Whine.

I have had personal contact with conservative saboteurs at Liberal events.  Lets just say that it was fun when the little man thought he would be threatening.

RobertChase topcommenter

@DerpMcDerpington  Michael Clapper is not a friend, but I don't like to see anyone railroaded, and particularly members of Occupy Denver, repeatedly targeted for ongoing harassment and false criminal charges by Denver's corrupt police department.  Absent evidence that Michael participated in the crimes alleged by the victim, in particular, her direct assertion that he did so, he should never have been charged with any crime and should be released.  Police who perjure themselves are far more of a threat to our society than rapists.

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