DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s new police chief put Occupy Denver on notice Monday — his patience has run out.
Chief Robert White met with protesters for almost an hour, telling them they need to remove their stuff from Civic Center Park or the city will.
It was the chief’s second warning, and it is clearly his last. He didn’t say when or how the stuff will be removed, only that he won’t compromise. That didn’t make Occupy Denver very happy.
Ten members of Occupy Denver got 45 minutes with White in a meeting that happened behind closed doors and ended with neither side budging.
Civic Center Park has been trashed. The new sod has been trampled and the sandstone is covered in graffiti. There are makeshift shelters and a kayak in a tree.
On Thursday the chief told protesters himself they could stay, but the “encumbrances” had to go. He was greeted with contempt and profanity.
Occupy Denver took video of the meeting and posted it on YouTube.
“Productive to the point where I think I understood their position and I think they understand the city’s position,” White said.
“I don’t think it was very productive,” a protester said.
“So I don’t want to get into the strategies of how that’s going to occur, but will tell you it is going to occur,” White said.
He said he’s given ample warning.
“I think it would be in all of our best interests to avoid any confrontation,” White said.
While protestors said they wouldn’t resist, they also won’t help.
“You know we were hoping to have more of a creative conversation but it’s the same old; the state says encumbrances must go,” the protester said.
It’s not just government saying that. There’s now an online petition drive urging the city to “liberate the park.” Since Sunday 194 people have signed it. Most of them have voiced sentiments like Kendall Peterson, who wrote, “I support the Occupy movement and its core principals. The destruction of public property and century-old art is not helping their cause. It is illegal vandalism pure and simple.”
The Civic Center Conservancy, a nonprofit set up to restore the park, put the petition together. Every time someone signs it, it generates an email to the city and Mayor Michael Hancock.