DENVER (CBS4) – Protesters who marched through Denver Wednesday to demonstrate against events in Ferguson, Missouri, are now being accused of cheering and clapping when a Denver Police officer was run down and seriously injured by a motorist.
Four DPD officers protecting the protesters were hit by a car after police say the driver apparently suffered some sort of medical event. The most seriously injured, Officer John Adsit, a married father of four, is still hospitalized and fighting for his life with serious injuries.
On Facebook, Denver Police Officer Michael Rispoli wrote, “I followed those kids on my motorcycle and all I heard was ‘F the police’ and I was shocked to see teachers right alongside them!”
Rispoli added: “Sad thing was many of the students laughed and cheered while the officer was being dragged under the car… unbelievable.”
A Colorado State Patrol sergeant also weighed in on Facebook saying he too was following the protesters, “The kids from East HS may have been traumatized from seeing 4 officers hit yesterday. I’m sure the students who cheered and laughed are ok. This should never have happened.”
Late Thursday afternoon, the Denver Police Protective Association issued a statement reading “several parties in the protesting group cheered and chanted ‘hit him again.’ These actions are not only reprehensible but quite possibly the most disturbing thing this Association has ever heard.”
Police Chief Robert White said he couldn’t confirm those reports.
Some students thanked police while standing up for their protest rights. Adsit’s family said some students visited the officer at the hospital.
“We’ve created a movement, and I am very proud (of) all the police who have helped us to keep everybody safe. I think that we’ve done amazing things,” East High School junior Stevie Shock said.
Nick Rogers, the president of the Police Protective Association, told CBS4 he was too busy to be interviewed.
Meanwhile, John Adsit’s oldest daughter, Jordan, posted a photo of herself and her father on a social media site writing, “I love you more than any words can express as you are the most important man in my life. These next 24 hours will be the scariest hours of any of our lives; we know you’re a fighter. You’re in my prayers, Dad.”
Denver Public Schools said the students were issued unexcused absences, but one student said that didn’t deter them.
“At the end of the day, you can’t forcefully restrain a student,” Donalya Bridges, an East student, said.