By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – When protests for George Floyd began to organize in Denver, demonstrators were met with force by Denver police officers. Tactics they used initially were toned down after several days, but not without bringing the department under fire itself first.

A third day of protesting in downtown Denver was brought to an early end after Mayor Michael Hancock enacted a curfew to prevent more vandalism and violence. Although many demonstrators had left by 8 p.m., hundreds were still by the State Capitol when law enforcement began dispersing the crowd. The curfew will be in force again May 31.

An image from a protest in Denver (credit: Evan Semón/CBS)

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“Any time an excessive crowd control measure like tear gas and rubber bullets and flash bang grenades and the like, anytime they are used against Denver citizens by Denver police I think it’s incumbent on city council to dig in,” councilman Paul Kashmann said.

Kashmann chairs the safety committee of the Denver City Council, and with the full support of his fellow council members is calling for an investigation by the Office of Independent Monitor.

“Take a look. Does Denver have the correct use of force policy in place? And if they do, was it properly implemented during the demonstrations?” he asked.

The request comes as complaints against DPD for excessive force continue to build through emails, calls and even directly from the council floor.

(credit: Evan Semón/CBS)

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“The irony of police using excessive force when we are protesting force is not lost on us,” one speaker said while addressing the council during a public comment period.

“When you inflict unnecessary harm on citizens, the repercussions need to be swift,” another person said.

“They had no care or concern for the safety of the people out there,” one man said after spending two nights at the Denver protests.

Kashmann believes an investigation is the right step toward accountability.

“I think it’s in everybody’s best interest, including the police department, to know from an independent source how their personnel performed. Do we need better training? Do we need better policy?” he asked.

According to a spokesperson for the police department, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen and Executive Director of Public Safety Murphy Robinson acknowledge and support calls to review the use of force policy from Denver City Council.

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Karen Morfitt