Instigation of police-protester clash is unclear

The Recreate ’68 protest organization has put out an “action call,” trying to get people to call the mayor and governor’s office in Denver to protest a clash between police and protesters on Monday evening.

What led up to the “small riot” is not entirely clear.

According to Glenn Spagnuolo, one of the organizers, “the incident last night started around 5:30pm, when heavily-armed police in SWAT gear began making random sweeps through Civic Center Park, harassing people sitting in the grass by poking them with nightsticks and telling them to get up and leave.”

According to the time stamp on my camera (and audio recorder), this was the scene in the park at 5:41 p.m., about 10 minutes after I arrived.


All appears relatively calm. Five minutes after this, I did see a patrol of about 8 cops walking through the park, but I didn’t see them taking any action against anyone.

At 5:39 p.m., I took a picture of this singer on the “main stage…”


But he sang to a generally disinterested audience…


On a Web site, the group posts this picture of the incident…


That’s the state Capitol across the street. And I was walking by that location around 6:10 and the police I saw were sitting under trees.

The release continues…

The police chased the crowd through the park towards 15th and Cleveland, where there was another line of police waiting to surround the people running from the police and prevent them from leaving. Glenn says the police surrounded the crowd, which included frightened and crying children, and began pushing them back and crushing the crowd together. He said they were detained for well over an hour.

I’d spent most of the afternoon in this location, and according to my cellphone, I called my wife from about a block away (within view) at 6:02 p.m.

That the incident happened is unarguable. Democracy Now has video and plenty of interviews with people (although the time of the film is unclear since it was dark). Sunset in Denver last night was 7:41 p.m. And Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman said the problems started after 7, not at 5:30.

Video from ABC News — also taken after dark — shows some protesters getting in the faces of the police.

  • Yes are they talking m.s.t. or is the group out of CA and giving (for them) local time ie PST?

  • Bob Collins

    Could well be, Brian.

  • Alison

    Bob – What’s your sense of the police attitude in Denver? Are they confrontational or businesslike? Do things seem tense?

  • Bob Collins

    Individual police personalities, as you might expect, vary from person to person. A few have been extremely nice. Others have been steely quiet. None has been discourteous to me.

    The attitude overall — or least the Vibe, might be a better word — is a determination. This is a tough, tough crowd that obviously has been trained. They are NOT messing around here and the leash is short. On the other hand, if you look at the ABC film, there are more than a few of the kids trying to provoke them into something.

    And the cops know that.

    If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear there are two things happening in Denver. 1) Delegates are meeting inside and 2) Cops and kids are butting heads outside.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Life is going on fine, people are having a good time, and nobody seems disinclined to come into town to enjoy a night out. They know this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal for a city like this.