Denver Apologizes For Officers’ Texts During Occupy Protests
DENVER (CBS4)- The City of Denver offers an apology after the Denver Police Department released transcripts of text messages sent between officers patrolling the Occupy Denver protests.
Some of the messages ridicule the protesters, calling them “just down right stupid,” “wimps,” “idiots” and “Occupy Denver retards.” The police department is calling the messages unprofessional.
Officers used the car to car text system on the computers located inside their patrol units to send the texts. They were texting each other as they watched over Occupy protesters at Civic Center Park.
“The tone and tenor of some of these comments wasn’t professional and we regret the exchanges,” said Denver Police Dept. Lt. Matthew Murray.
The text transcripts were released as part of a request to a federal judge from protesters in their request of a temporary restraining order against police.
Federal Judge Robert Blackburn issued an order in favor of the city Wednesday, denying protesters’ request for a temporary restraining order against the city. Blackburn said there was no evidence the city had a retaliatory motive to issue citations to the protesters.
“I’m disappointed in this,” said Occupy Denver Attorney David Lane. “We had a lot of evidence showing massive hostility from the police department, including text messages between cops in cars at the site, it was all meaningless to the judge.”
Lane refers to the hostility in one text that reads, “A few of us set up a Twitter account to harass the “Occupy Denver” people.”
“I am real disappointed that some of our officers have decided to communicate in this way,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
Hancock said the texts are unprofessional but also acknowledged that police in Denver have been pushed to their limits.
“I’ve been starting to see some of the frustration of our officers. That is not an excuse but I want you to understand this is a frustration they have felt on the street,” said Hancock.
Occupy protesters have their own opinions.
“I think it’s absolutely uncalled for,” said one protester.
“They have a right to have an opinion,” said another.
The Denver Police Department will review each text messages to decide if any disciplinary action should be taken.
Below is a apology released by the Denver Police Department over the text messages matter:
Unfortunately, a few communications between individual officers through a car-to-car text system have not met the standard of professionalism expected by the Denver Police Department and the citizens of Denver in regards to the Occupy Denver protests. We recognize this and have already taken steps to address the behavior and to remind all officers of our expectations. The Denver Police Department regrets the tenor and tone of some of these texts.
In a desire to be transparent to the people we serve, all of the relevant text messages regarding Occupy Denver are attached.
LINK: View The Texts
It is important to note that while not a defense for inappropriate behavior, many Denver Police Officers have now endured months of having to leave their families to come into work early, giving up their days off, and silently tolerating hours of taunting and abusive actions by some protestors.
It is common for employees in any line of work to vent their frustrations to co-workers. But more important, is the fact that the actions of the Denver Police Department and its Officers have reflected the City’s commitment to protect free speech. These are the words of a very few officers over a thirteen week period.
Notwithstanding these text messages, the Denver Police Department continues to respect and will defend the Constitutional right to peacefully protest.