By Howard Nathan
DENVER (CBS4) – Sunday’s shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, happened on a day when Coloradans planned to honor law enforcement in Denver’s Civic Center Park.
Nearly 100 people attended the second annual Colorado Law Enforcement Appreciation Day rally, it quickly turned into a nasty confrontation when police protesters showed up and started chanting “Blue Lives Murder.”
CBS4’s Howard Nathan attended the rally which is usually a unified crowd all appreciating law enforcement. But on Sunday approximately 10 Occupy Denver protesters got under the skin of some of those who were on hand to support law enforcement.
A 76-year-old woman from Broomfield was particularly offended by the protesters and confronted a younger woman who was protesting with a bullhorn. The older woman told CBS4 she was on the verge of tears due to the protesters.
“I feel very upset, very violated … I’m very, very upset,” the woman said. “I feel like that I did not have a chance to express my First Amendment right. I was over-shouted and I was told to back away or something would happen. He was very threatening.”
Three police supporters then stood in front of the anti-cop protestors, shouting “We back the blue! We back the blue!”
Denver police stayed back, watching the angry confrontations and on hand just in case violence broke out.
“It’s because of the men in blue that these knuckleheads over here are allowed to say the things that they’re allowed to say,” said one pro-police announcer.
Many of the supporters, like Linda Schaer of Denver, told CBS4 they have family members who are cops. Schaer’s son is a policeman.
“All these policemen are my sons and daughters,” Schaer said.
Nathan asked Schaer to respond to the “Blue Lives Murder” chant coming from the Occupy group. She responded “No. No they don’t, they don’t go out looking to kill people.”
Police protestor Eric Verlo of Denver told CBS4 “I don’t think anybody wants any deaths.”
“Then how come that woman just cheered when they talked about cops being shot?” Nathan asked.
“Well now, everybody’s got freedom of speech,” Verlo responded.
Some in the anti-cop crowd think society can do away with the police and create something better.
One officer off-camera described the pro-police supporters as very refreshing.
Howard Nathan is a veteran newsman. Decades later, he still enjoys writing a clever sentence, asking the tough question and talking to people in Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Howard and read his bio.