Police Use Pepper Spray, 2 Officers Injured At Occupy Denver Protest
DENVER (CBS4) – For the second day in a row there has been a confrontation with police at the Occupy Denver protest at Civic Center Park. As of 6 p.m. Sunday three people had been arrested.
Two police officers were injured in the skirmishes with protesters. A Colorado State Patrol trooper was hit in the head. Another officer, possible from Denver police, suffered a knee injury of some sort.
“We have two that are hurt. A State Patrol officer was hit in the head and he suffered injuries. We have another officer who has a twisted knee at this point,” Sonny Jackson with Denver police said. “It’s getting to become more and more of a dangerous situation.”
A third officer was possibly injured as well.
Jackson said the officer who was hit in the head was taken to the hospital for evaluation.
At one point there were about 150 protesters. At issue was the tables and belongings that protesters set up on the sidewalk in the park.
There was one skirmish around 4 p.m. Protesters were outraged when Denver police came in and removed a table with food. Police say the tables on the sidewalk create a public safety hazard. Protesters say they are only trying to feed the homeless.
“No one claimed the table so officers took the table, put it in a car. The officer tried to drive away but somebody got in front of the car. Officers said, ‘Would you move?’ The individual chose not to move,” Jackson said. “They got in front of the car and began rocking the car; they were going to tip her car over. She called for help and officers responded so we could get her car out of the crowd.”
When police moved the car they were holding up red canisters described by police to CBS4′s Howard Nathan as pepper spray. No pepper spray at that point was sprayed. The crowd continued to grow increasingly angry and taunted the police.
“This morning we were told that we could have a food table,” protester Jeannie Hartley said. “They just came in and took the food table. This proves the point that I said to you earlier. The game has changed. They’re simply just trying to stop this movement. It doesn’t have anything to do with just cleaning out a park.”
There was another skirmish around 4:45 p.m. where a man who had been arrested in October was arrested again. Police pulled out and began using pepper spray on about 12 protesters who refused to disperse.
After the first skirmish a member of Occupy Denver went over to some other protesters and told them they need to have the movement be non-violent.