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ACLU Says Police Are Interfering With Occupy Protesters’ Rights

DENVER (CBS4) – After a weekend of arrests the American Civil Liberties Union says Denver police are using minor municipal laws as an excuse to interfere with protesters’ rights. Police say they are simply enforcing the law.

Cars have been stopping along Broadway to give donations to the protesters — food and other items. Now police are ticketing those who do so. The demonstrators call it harassment, but police call it enforcement.

“Now they are ticketing everybody who attempts to drop supplies,” Al Nesby with Occupy Denver said. “We’re already working on an alternate means of being able to get supplies over here.”

It comes after a weekend that saw around 20 arrests. There were skirmishes as police enforced laws like blocking the sidewalks with personal belongings, and no tents in the park. The ACLU is expressing concern.

“We want to call on city officials to put a stop to what I think is a police overreaction and (being) overly zealous of very minor Denver municipal ordinances,” ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein said.

Denver police say if the ACLU doesn’t agree with enforcement of the ordinances, they should try to change the laws.

The police insist they provoked no one, saying pepper spray was used only because demonstrators tried to tip over a car. Two officers were injured in the melee.

“The Denver Police Department’s priority is to the peace, safety and well-being; and the balance of that with our citizens, that balance of that with our First Amendment rights to peacefully and publicly assemble,” Det. John White with Denver police said.

But many of those in Occupy Denver feel police are out to try to shut them down.

“We were hunted on Saturday night. That was a hunt. That was an absolute hunt,” a protester said.

The day ended with protesters at the governor’s office to hold a meeting.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided on the matter of camping in public parks in 1984. It ruled protesters outside the White House could be blocked from camping without infringing on their rights of free speech.

The protesters say despite the police actions and the colder weather they have no plans to leave.

  • StandUpDenver

    Officer Brian Claus #04093 pulled over two senior citizen vets that were trying to stop to give a quick cash donation, and gave them a ticket. Two other cars showed up resulting in 5 police being behing that van. It was a shame and sad to see what they are doing to peoples rights.

  • EmmaTE

    Hi there,

    Just saying hello to the forum.



  • denvervet

    Now last night they gathered all these people up due to health issues, so are they gone? Something tells me they have nothing better to do and they all seem to have laptops so they will reconvigne somewhere else. I am glad they are protesting.

    • Get Out of Denver

      thats cause youre a loser…

  • Bruce Baker

    They call it “civil disobedience” because you break the (you think bad) law, are arrested, and go to jail. That’s the whole point.

    “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime!”

  • Anna Mary Farr

    Protesting and freedom of speech are among our rights. Breaking the law by camping overnight on clearly marked public parks is not a right, neither is spitting on an officer, sticking your foot in front of his motorcycle, stading in the middle of Broadway blocking traffic, throwing bottles and bricks are also not included in any “rights” – if you want to fix what is broke, go start a company (and see what that is like), get a job, quit begging and vote. Use your rights don’t abuse them.

  • Get Out of Denver

    Losers Losers Loser Losers Loser Losers Loser Losers Losers Losers Losers Losers.

    I drove by these losers this weekend and saw a visibly intoxicated man defecating in the street.

    Something similiar among these losers:

  • jas b

    There is nothing wrong with protesting, but the protesters NEED to follow the city’s laws. One is NO over night camping! That should be the end of it! Come back in the morning stay until yu lawfull can. This would eliminted the trash, the need for food, and the disruptions. I am not sure why anyone wold donate cash or food to these protester when we have others in our city that need help more, but is is theri right to do what every with theri funds. Just don’t complain when your tickered because your illegal parked!

    • Get Out of Denver

      they are not following the laws. thats why they need to be removed.

  • K

    Hey StandupDenver, do you think by naming the officer who was doing what he was told to do, enforce all laws around these morons, you accomplishing something. Get a life…..These people are just puppets for a socialist/communist movement in this country, that will ultimately fail. I wish it was over already, I am tired of hearing and reading about these pathetic sheep.

    • Get Out of Denver

      I agree 100% K- standupdenver is moron and probably posting to this forum from his moms basement.

  • K

    Oh yeah one more point,,,, for the ACLU….SHUT UP already, Winnie Silverstein…..look like a weasel, act like a weasel, smell like a weasel…..must be a weasel.

  • JonMon

    Not one of these aimless nitwits has a clue about what they’re protesting. Even the ones that can put a proper sentence together cannot describe what they’re protesting. This exercise in futility needs to end.

  • Jyoti

    out why your bike doesn’t fall down when you ride, and it isn’t what they thought. Denver’s new maoaryl candidates support cycling. Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas’ excellent op-ed on the conflict between cyclists and drivers

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