Oct 2011 31

by A.J. Focht

As if subjecting the demonstrators at #OccupyDenver to the horrors of hypothermia by refusing to allow them to erect shelter against the recent snow and harsh Colorado nights wasn’t bad enough, during the march held on Saturday October 29, the police used unnecessary force on the otherwise peaceful assembly.

Local Denver activist, @EisMC2 a.k.a Emmi Einstein spoke with SuicideGirls and gave us an account of the events of that day:

The march attracted upwards of 2,000 people to the Capitol at Civic Center Park. While the rally marched, Emmi and others stayed back at the #Occupy site to make sure things were running smoothly. She noticed early on that there were many more cops than the usual one or two that roam the park. When a SWAT team started to assemble, the group used the distraction to rebuild their camp. As the cops massed, Emmi noted one was filming the event .

After those on the march had returned to the park, the rally took a turn for the worse. Police moved into the park en mass, driving their motorcycles directly through the crowds. One police motorcyclist drove through a crowd of protestors, hitting one identified as Frank Roper. Roper shoved the bike in a fit of anger. The officer responded by chasing Roper down, tackling him, and proceeding to split his face in two. This is the event that seemed to trigger widescale police brutality on Saturday, and it was all caught on tape by a woman wanting to be known as Pinky Disaster – see video below.

That incident may have served as a catalyst, but it is clear from the video that police were moving in before it occurred. Law enforcement agencies, dressed in riot gear, were forcing their way through the protestors in unnecessarily large numbers. The officer whose bike was shoved could have just continued on, but he instead dismounted and proceeded to brutalize Roper until he required hospital attention; causing the subsequent disastrous chain of events.

[Image of police using pepper spray courtesy of]

Police admitted using Mace and firing pepper balls; protestors claim they were being hit with rubber bullets as well, and many witnessed police using excessive force with batons. Emmi watched things escalate quickly, even witnessing one man being choked by an officer while pinned to the ground. Some of the more terrifying reports include pregnant women getting pepper sprayed, and a kid (possibly identified as a 21-year-old who was filming the event) who was shot out of a tree by several projectiles (pepper balls or rubber bullets). Emmi herself – a 5’2” 95lb female – was pepper sprayed and beaten with a baton by a cop she identified by the badge #05100.

[Photo by Emmi: A Denver protester after he’d been shot in the face by police]

Many of the police on duty did not feel it was necessary to use such force, and instead attempted to keep things as peaceable as possible. Unconfirmed reports also surfaced online that two Denver police officers quit their jobs because of the attacks, and an unidentified source within #OccupyDenver said they witnessed one officer walking away from the riot line in tears saying he wouldn’t do it anymore.

The police made a big deal out of gearing up and loading the tear gas guns, but they never fired. Instead, they moved into the occupants’ encampment with gas masks and tore it down. Numerous #OccupyDenver protestors were arrested at this point as they tried to salvage anything from police grasp. All of the tents, the kitchen, the protest signs, and much more were taken by the police and tossed into a city dump truck.

The excessive force used on the protestors only kindled their spirits. After being down to under a dozen bodies staying on site 24/7, over fifty people stayed through the night on Saturday. And donations quickly came in to help make up for the movement’s losses. Unfortunately, despite donations of tents, occupants are still being forced to sleep without shelter.

Following the events on Saturday, the #OccupyDenver group held a sunset candlelight vigil on Sunday evening. The peaceful event was a collective stand against the violence of the previous night, and served as a chance to refocus the group back on the socioeconomic goals of the #OccupyWallStreet movement as a whole.

More images can be found at


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