Police City


Monday night, about 100 protesters were arrested in Civic Center Park as they attempted to reach the 16th Street Mall. Police suspected they wanted to reach some downtown Denver hotels and disrupt convention activity there. Sue Cobb, a spokesperson for the Denver mayor’s office, said, “It is hard to avoid arresting people who are bound and determined to get arrested.”

Maybe it wouldn’t be so hard if the police presence wasn’t so provocative.

I have no plans to do anything that might get me arrested during the week of the Democratic National Convention, but I sure did finding myself resenting the police on Monday as I made my way around Denver. There were dozens of police at ReCreate68’s demonstration at 19th and Stout (the Federal Building).

Every time I turned around, another group of bicycle cops went by two-by-two. When I was waiting for Code Pink to finish preparations for their aerial photograph of protestors forming the words, “Make Out, Not War,” I noticed one cop filming the demonstrators. Come on! What evil do they think a bunch of women in pink are going to do?

I don’t know about you, but seeing cops everywhere makes me want to push the limits. When I was walking up the 16th Street Mall about 7 pm, just about when the arrests in Civic Center Park were happening, I was following a double line of cops in full riot gear. Another double line proceeded up the other side of the street. Some people were heckling them. One man came by and asked to take their picture, saying, “I think you guys look awesome.” He sounded as if he meant it. And the woman strolling nearby with her boyfriend cozied up to some young officers for a picture.

One cop in the group admitted he didn’t know which group was protesting. He said there are ten protests going on at any given time, which I found interesting, but it made me wonder how they define “protest.” Does a bunch of women in pink spelling out letters on a park lawn qualify as a “protest”? Apparently, according to Denver police, it does. Seems pretty harmless to me.

I say, we should let the protesters go as far as they can without hurting anyone. Let them disrupt a party like this one. Is it really going to end the world if some telecom fat cat or the legislators she’s trying to buy can’t get into the party for a few minutes?