DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper has taken a lot of heat over the last week for his handling of Occupy Denver. Political specialist Shaun Boyd sat down with the governor on Wednesday to talk about the protest.

It was in the early days of Occupy Denver as the first tents went up in Lincoln Park and Hickenlooper had a sinking feeling.

“I could see this was something that could easily catch on,” Hickenlooper said.

Seemingly overnight 10 tents turned to 40, then upwards of 80. Illegal camping was just the start. Protestors were stealing electricity for a makeshift kitchen, there was drug use, and people urinating and defecating on the grass.

PHOTO GALLERY: Occupy Denver

Boyd asked the governor why he allowed the unlawful behavior to go on for a week.

“Well, obviously the First Amendment is something that is cherished in this country,” he said.  “There were also jurisdictional questions. It’s a state park but we don’t have a jail in Denver … the things people keep forgetting is you do this wrong and settling a million dollar lawsuit.”

So the city and state planned with Denver police and the Colorado State Patrol on how to respond safely. As they planned the protest grew and Hickenlooper went to meet with crowd.

“Usually my experience when you have a problem and there’s trouble I usually think it’s better to go towards it and go listen,” said Hickenlooper

But protestors stood their ground. The night before police moved in Hickenlooper called the head of public safety.

“I asked him, I said, ‘Is there something we could be doing better?’ He said, ‘Not a thing, I think we have the right plan, we have the right people; they’re prepared and this will come off without a hitch.”

Of the hundreds of protestors who had gathered by then, only 23 would be arrested.

“You can say it was lucky, probably was lucky, things could have gone worse, who knows what could have happened, but a lot of luck was result of hard work,” Hickenlooper said. “I wish I could have gotten to them sooner and established a relationship going forward.

“In the end, having dialogue and taking time to listen and talk … compared to what was seen in other parts of country, this was pretty non violent.”

Hickenlooper credits law enforcement and said they showed admirable restraint.

Hickenlooper said they’re still calculating the cost to handle the protesters. He also said he is sympathetic to their frustration. Hickenlooper was laid off in the 80s and was out of work for two years. He said he understands why they are unhappy with the system.

Comments (7)
  1. Remove The Trash says:

    These government teat suckers are too blind to see that they are the reason the USA is bankrupt. These idiots are among the 47% of non-federal tax payers.
    Somehow or another these math-challenged trashpots think that they’re among the 99% of taxpayers left over when you take the top 1% aside as scapegoats for the problems caused by the gullibility of those who sold their votes for the promises of irresponsible politicians.

    Remember, people: Obama just said these are “his people” and fully endorsed the protests.

  2. Daniel says:

    This report is garbage at best. It completely categorizes and dismisses the “protesters” without so much as asking who they are or what they want. Did they ever show an interview with a protester? They never even touch on what the ISSUES are. How about instead of orchestrating some “interview” with some “political correspondent” , why not go and talk to the protesters themselves?
    Again, this report is garbage and biased. End of story.

    1. njcarr says:

      This “Protest” has been planned for no less than eight months. You had plenty of time to get your story straight. Reporters gleefully tried to give you traction by asking over and over “What do you want”, only to get rambling, stoned answers such as “Free college” and “Free internet” and “Free IPhones” and lots of “ya know wut I mean duuude?” Many, many “Protesters” were honest enough to simply state “I don’t know what the f**** we’re doing here”. Your “Revolution” is over, and you’ve lost. You can go back to smoking pot in your mothers basement and mumbling about “The Man” keeping you down by loaning you 10s of thousands to get your worthless “Radical Feminist Arts” degree.

      1. krefite says:

        Seriously?!!? Watch Fox News much??

  3. DENVERVET says:


  4. ldb says:

    The Governor has made a HUGE mistake. This movement is protesting corruption in our government. The corruption that is flowing through our politicians, banks, federal reserve, wall street, defense contractors, big corporations…. the
    American people have a right to be out in the parks and streets like never before to protest and demonstrate their right to reclaim political power from all of these corrupt sources. Standing in our way will NOT stop us. Governor you have failed the people and proven you are part of the problem.

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