DPD Apologizes Over Text Messages Concerning Occupy Protesters

DENVER (CBS4) — A federal judge issued a ruling in a lawsuit by Occupy Denver protesters Wednesday morning and the Denver Police Department also apologized for text messages concerning the protesters.

The protesters accuse police of violating their First Amendment rights by selectively enforcing ordinances to harass them.

Federal Judge Robert Blackburn issued an order in favor of the city, denying protesters’ request for a temporary restraining order against the city to halt the alleged tactics. Blackburn said there was no evidence the city had a retaliatory motive to issue citations to the protesters.

The offenses included honking horns in support of the protest, stopping briefly to drop off donations and placing items on the sidewalk. The police testified the ordinances were not being selectively enforced and that the protesters were being accommodated to express their views.

The restraining order request stems from a lawsuit filed by seven protesters and supporters. They claim police and other officials are trying to silence them because they don’t like their anti-Wall Street message.

The judge hasn’t ruled on the lawsuit itself, only the protesters’ request for the restraining order.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he is pleased with Judge’s decision on Occupy Denver.

As part of the lawsuit, the plaintiffs presented evidence of text messages between police officers on Oct. 14 and other dates where officers referred to the protesters as “hippies,” “yahoos,” and “wimps.”

“It’s unfortunate that they say that, but this is a country in which we have freedom of expression under law,” a protester told CBS4.

“The tone and tenor of some of these comments wasn’t professional and we regret the exchanges,” Lt. Matthew Murray said in a news conference.

Murray pointed out the officers have endured months of having to leave their families and enduring abuse from the demonstrators. The texts also warned of homemade weapons and balloons filled with fluid.

“This is not been easy and I’ve started to see some of the frustration of our officers. That’s not an excuse, but I want you to understand this a frustration they have felt on the street,” Hancock said.

The police department is looking the messages and trying to determine if disciplinary action will 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.

  1. Get Out OWSTRASH - Denver Does Not Want You Here says:

    Losers! They actually think they have a chance to win?

    First and foremost these degenerates do not have a permit. They are breaking the law every night they pollute the street with thier worthless bodies laying around like the waste of flesh they are.

    In addition to no permit, they have assaulted a police offer, committed several indecent exposure acts, sold drugs, used drugs, spliced into the city electricty, public defacation and urination, public masturbation, sex assault… the list goes on.

    OWS take your filth to Washington where the real problem is.These trashpots are nothing but socialistic class warfare tools created by thier incompetant leader hussein obama.

    How about applying yourself and working to create a better life for yourself instead of sleeping in your own filth on broadway and contributing nothing to society.

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