Denver Says Occupy Protests Cost $430K In Overtime
DENVER (CBS4) – New numbers released Monday show the skyrocketing cost of the Occupy Denver movement.
The mayor’s office said the city spent about $430,000 in overtime and materials. The tally covers the costs from early October through Nov. 13. The money was used for police patrols along with cleaning up. The city expects to be able to cover the costs within its existing budget, according to The Associated Press.
Last week the Colorado State Patrol said it has spent more than $351,000 watching over the protests. That’s a total of nearly $800,000.
Though at times it has been heated there have been fears of much worse. Police reported finding in “backpacks, guns, knives and homemade weapons.”
On Oct. 14, the night riot-equipped officers moved in to tear down tents, there were threats to bomb police and to bomb the city jail. That night officers also say they discovered Occupy Denver protesters had spliced into the city electrical supply.
On Oct. 29 there was trouble again. Police were armed with foggers, gas grenades and blast balls. Mike Miller was there.
“They were totally too ready to beat somebody’s behind, to put it bluntly,” Miller said.
Police reported protesters resisting arrest and assaulting officers. Pepper spray was used but police also received a call from a demonstrator warning that parties were “tying ropes between trees and tents in an attempt to trip officers.”
Sarah Fong was identified in city emails as an Occupy Denver organizer and she questions the report.
“There have been a lot of talks about infiltrators among various groups of people within Occupy, but to the best of my knowledge it’s all been paranoid,” Fong said.
The cooperation between some Occupy Denver demonstrators and officers attempted to go further. A confidential meeting was arranged between Occupy Denver leadership and Mayor Michael Hancock.
On Monday the protesters occupied both sides of Broadway between Colfax and 14th, but so too were the police.
City attorney Doug Friednash issued a statement to CBS4 saying Denver has done an excellent job of striking an appropriate balance between protecting First Amendment rights and ensuring the public’s health and safety.
A lawsuit has been filed in Denver federal court against the city on behalf of the protesters. Because of that, the city attorney said he cannot comment at this time.